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At the end of every month on the EastSide we take a moment to step back and view the realm of sports as one entity. This Top Ten may include Highlights, Stories, etc., ultimately helping the fan get a feel for what I thought were the best of sports for the month of June 2011.

What can I say about the month of June? It is where the beginning of summer meets the blood, sweat, and determination of a team to reach the Finals – in both the NBA and the NHL. June is the month in which athletes take their games to another level…and then they take it a little higher. The end goal is in sight, and three of the grandest prizes in sports are on the line – The Larry O’Brien, Stanley Cup, and the US Open Trophies. This June however was different, however, because some surprise stories took place; this month select athletes took the initiative to write their own stories, it made for an intriguing month to say the least. So without further adieu, let the countdown begin.

10 – Well, this was back when the Heat were still ‘clutch’ in crunch time. Although LeBron had struggled, and Dwyane Wade started to take over the game, he wouldn’t go out of Game 1 without a bang. This put the first game of the NBA Finals away for the Miami Heat.

9 – Clearly known now by the end of June via the Sportscenter segment “The Best of the Best” after the top 10 on the show; the play remained number one for a week or two. Dale Carey, freshman right-fielder for the Miami Hurricane baseball team, makes a miraculous catch for his team at the warning-track here. The diving catch makes our June Top Ten because it is a truly unbelievable snag. Sorry for the low-quality video! It was the best that I could find.

8 – Dirk had an half-decent game under his standards; didn’t really have a flashy game, but extremely solid nonetheless. Oops, I forgot to mention the most important detail….The Finals MVP was playing with a Sinus Infection! A 102 degree fever, accompanied by coughing and wheezing, Nowitzki performed very up to par in wake of his sickness. The funny thing is that most NBA players could not even do this if they were feeling perfectly healthy!

7 – The most recent play among this Top Ten, Quillan Roberts – Canadien Goalie U-17 – attempts to put the ball into the box in order to give his players a chance to put it in the back of the net. However, after it takes a few bounces, no one touches it and after the ball bounces a couple of times the English goalie completely fails yielding in an equalizer during the 87th minute of the game. Not only was it amazing, but the fact that it made so much of a difference at a late point in the game makes it even more extraordinary.

6 – Well not a lot to say here except the fact that no one except for Jason “the JET” Terry thought that the 25-footer over LeBron “LeChoke” James was going in. Nevertheless, it dropped and the sold-out Mavericks crowd was sent into an immediate frenzy. It capped the game, but really was the point in the series that gave the Dallas Mavericks big eyes because the Larry O’Brien trophy was now one game away.

5 – Sick Dunk here as LeBron James ‘facebooked’ or showed his ‘dunkface’ to Ian Mahinmi. Definitely one of the only handful of highlights that LeBron had during this year’s NBA Finals.

4 – A magical moment in South Carolina Baseball history as they have rewritten the record books; once again. No team has ever won 11 games in a row at the College World Series and only four teams have ever been a champion multiple times in a row – USC won 5 times in a row in the early 70’s. An extreme domination of the rest of the field nonetheless as they capped it off with a 5-2 victory last night.

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3 – When I saw this I was in pure shock. Rory McIlroy puts away one of the greatest shots of the year during his second round at the par-4 8th hole on his approach shot. Reading the green like a picture book, McIlroy put his ball in the exact spot it needed to be in as it rolled back – from the back-left portion of the green – all the way to the hole en route to victory.

2 – Not so much the highlight, but the comeback makes this Number Two in the Top Ten. Obviously the comeback does not happen without the unbelievable lay-up with just over three seconds to go, but the Mavericks down double-digits with 5 minutes left found a way to win when the Miami Heat looked like they might sweep the series. Also, most people pass this fact up but Dwyane Wade was extremely close to winning the game at the buzzer from near half-court.

1 – If you are laughing…my thoughts exactly. You know the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Well it applies here. The Mavericks winning their first NBA Championship over the Miami Heat was certainly the biggest story in the month of June. Mark Cuban was certainly enjoying his first NBA Championship a night or two after their improbable win.

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