2020: A historic year for Vegas sports

2020 was filled with big moments in sports for Las Vegas teams
Golden Knights
VGK Signs Pietrangelo
Raiders first game inside Allegiant
Raiders first game inside Allegiant
Henry Ruggs scores against Jets
Posted at 3:50 AM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-02 22:19:49-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — From a star player receiving MVP honors to deep playoff runs to Raider Nation rising in the Silver State, 2020 was a historic year for Vegas sports.

It's also a year that fans were introduced to so-called bubbles, cardboard-cutout fans and pumped-in crowd noise, as sports took a hit in early 2020.

The pandemic rearing its ugly head just as March Madness was getting ready to tip off.

COVID-19 canceled multiple events including the Pac-12, the Western Athletic Conference and Mountain West Conference basketball tournaments.

It wouldn't be long before pro sports were paused as well.

Then a big blow for Las Vegas.

The much ballyhooed NFL Draft planned for the Las Vegas Strip would go virtual.

"As a fan, I'm disappointed. As a business, we understand," said director of operations for Stage Door Casino John Vizcarra on March 16.

But then a glimmer of hope arrived as games continued at neutral sites and within so-called bubbles.

The Las Vegas Aces got back on the hardwood in August and took the league by storm.

The WNBA team earned the best record in the league, and made it to the WNBA Finals for the first time.

Star forward A'ja Wilson became the first Aces player to earn MVP honors.

"I'm already a very emotional person, but it was just a special moment that I was just glad I could share with everyone around me," said Wilson after winning the award on Sept. 17.

A hole in one 2020 for a local golfer.

Collin Morikawa coming from behind to clinch the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

"I'm on Cloud Nine. I don't know about you guys, but yeah, I've believed in myself since day one," said Morikawa after winning the championship.

Not to be outdone, the Golden Knights stepping up again to bring hope to the valley during a difficult time.

The team had another deep playoff run, beating the Blackhawks and then the Canucks in a grueling seven-game series.

They would fall to the Dallas Stars in five games in the Western Conference Finals, but the future is bright with the addition of defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

"I think with them coming so close in the first year, you could see the energy and feel like they are so close, and hopefully, I can take that over the edge to that opportunity because it's a fun process to go through," said Pietrangelo on Oct. 13.

From The Fortress to The Black Hole.

Las Vegas fans got to cheer for a new team this year.

The Raiders playing their very first season inside Allegiant Stadium, and putting on a show in their season opener against the Saints, winning 34-24.

The Silver State turned into the Silver and Black State.

"We're in Las Vegas and I'm happy for our city. This is our town now, this is our city," said Raiders quarterback Derek Carr after the win.

They delivered some big wins against the Saints and defending champion Chiefs, as well as a miracle in the Meadowlands.

They came back to beat the Jets with a hail mary pass from Carr to rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III.

The Raiders have been eliminated from playoff contention, but they have one more game against the Broncos on Jan. 3.