More than a handful of Black figures in the sports industry made history in 2021. Here are some of the year’s biggest culture shifters in the field of athletics.
The South Carolina women’s basketball coach has continued to climb her way up the all-time ranks in the sport this year. After signing the No. 1 recruiting class, the Gamecocks gave her a seven-year, $22.4 million contract extension in October. The deal made her the highest-paid Black coach in all of women’s college basketball.
In November, the Michigan State football coach signed a 10-year, $95 million contract extension, which made him the highest-paid Black coach in American sports. The Spartans end the season at the Peach Bowl against Pittsburgh on Dec. 30 in Atlanta.
In October, Wallace became the second Black NASCAR driver to win a Cup race with a victory at Talladega, and the first since Wendell Scott in 1963. In June of 2020, Wallace also made headlines when he noticed a noose in his garage at Talladega.
Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks
In April, Belair and Banks became the first Black women to face off in a singles match at Wrestlemania. Belair won the historic match, and both wrestlers won an ESPY for the groundbreaking matchup.
The Las Vegas Aces forward had the first WNBA Top Shot NFT moment with a two-handed block on Dallas Wings big Isabelle Harrison.
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