It happens four times a year across the major U.S. sports leagues: the championship parade. Some celebrations are 108 years in the making (2016 Chicago Cubs), while some are the third in four years (2018 Golden State Warriors).
What these parades don’t lack: hundreds of thousands of people and extreme celebrations from athletes and coaches.
With MLB’s latest parade to commemorate the World Series win by the Boston Red Sox set to be underway Wednesday, we take a look at notable moments in parade history.
Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies, 2008
Utley and the Phils ended Philly’s 25-year pro sports championship curse with their World Series win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
The star second baseman — whose clutch play helped the Phillies snag the title — gave an expletive-laden start to his speech in front of fans at Citizens Bank Park.
Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs, 2016
Rizzo, the Cubs and much of the city of Chicago were giddy as the franchise broke its 108-year championship drought with a come-from-behind, seven-game World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Rizzo, one of the Cubs’ young stars, used his time at the podium of the championship parade to give an emotional tribute to David Ross, the team’s elder statesman who had announced his retirement.
Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles, 2018
The Eagles’ Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots in January — their first — was a long time coming. Enter Kelce. Wearing quite possibly the most unique outfit in parade history, Kelce delivered an epic speech in celebration of an underdog Eagles team.
He gave a shoutout to all of the Eagles haters and was dressed in the garb to match the fury.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots, 2017
Shirtless beer-chugging, a WWE belt and partying with fans? Just Gronk being Gronk.
The New England tight end, who was injured and unable to play in the Patriots’ huge comeback over the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl, didn’t hold back at the championship parade in Boston.
Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2009
Polamalu found himself crowd-surfing in the streets of Pittsburgh during the Steelers’ parade in celebration of a Super Bowl win over the Arizona Cardinals — just as the safety did a few years prior when the Steelers celebrated winning Super Bowl XL.
Mark Madsen, Los Angeles Lakers, 2001
Shaq rapping and Madsen dancing on stage? What more could a Lakers fan ask for?
Celebrating the first of what would be three straight Lakers titles, Madsen, who gave an exuberant speech, showed off his moves while Shaquille O’Neal.
JR Smith, Cleveland Cavaliers, 2016
Smith, LeBron James and the city of Cleveland celebrated the end of a 52-year title drought when the Cavs topped the Warriors in an epic comeback in the NBA Finals.
While many parade moments were memorable, including a speech from LeBron, the enduring image from the celebration will always be Smith partying down the parade route, sans T-shirt.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks, 2011
Singing seems to be a theme at parades. And that was no different in Dallas after the Mavs upset LeBron and the Miami Heat. In celebration of his — and the Mavs’ — first title, and amid M-V-P chants, Nowitzki belted out an a cappella version of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
Pat Riley, Los Angeles Lakers, 1987
Guarantees have always been a hallmark in sports. But this proclamation of back-to-back titles — given out by then-Lakers coach Riley during parade euphoria — proved to be true. The Lakers won it all again in 1988, backing up Riley’s bold claim.
Steve Kerr, Chicago Bulls, 1997
Kerr has been in plenty of parades. He has been in them while playing with the Bulls and the Spurs and as the head coach with the Warriors. In 1997, Kerr had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen laughing when he shared a story about him making the game-winning shot, instead of Jordan, in Game 6 of the Finals. Or his version of it, anyhow.
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, 2018
Ovi’s parade speech was part of the party that never ended all summer long after the Caps won their first title — and D.C.’s first in the four major sports leagues since the Washington Redskins’ in 1992. The ongoing celebration, which began in Las Vegas after the Caps topped the Golden Knights and continued in the D.C. area, was one of the longest in recent memory.
Mark Messier, New York Rangers, 1994
The Rangers broke a 54-year Cup-less streak with a seven-game series victory over the Vancouver Canucks, and an appreciative crowd of roughly 1.5 million lined the streets of Manhattan to pay tribute. Messier, who had won five Cups with the Edmonton Oilers, talked about the lifetime achievement that winning the Cup in New York would bring him.
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