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2013 Review: Looking back at the year in sports

Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers on first base after his single in his major league debut against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on June 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers on first base after his single in his major league debut against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on June 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Harry How/Getty Images

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For a look back at the year in sports we're joined by by Andy and Brian Kamenetzky, who have covered sports for ESPN and Los Angeles Times.

The Boston Marathon bombing was a crossover from sports to what some might call real life. It was one of those moments that just cried out for why. Marathon day in Boston is like the happiest day of the year there. 

Red Sox win the World Series in a year that was supposed to be about rebuilding, and also on the heels of the Boson Marathon bombing. When the Sox first played at Fenway after that incident, David Ortiz addressed the crowd pre-game and said "This is our f***ing city!," a moment that was considered a rally cry for Boston.

Big social change that made headlines far outside the sports world. Journeyman NBA big man Jason Collins comes out as gay, making him the first to do so as an active member of the big four American sports. As of now, he's yet to get a contract offer, but that could be just as much a matter of his age and limited skill set as anything to do with either homophobia or concerns about locker room culture. Either way, it was a big event, and he received a lot of public support from big names (Kobe, LeBron, Kevin Durant, etc.)

Kobe blows out his Achilles to cap the season from hell for the Lakers. His effectiveness moving forward in the twilight of his career remain in question (which in turn creates question marks about the Lakers), but that didn't stop the team from giving him a $48.5 million extension last November, essentially sight unseen. He's since fractured his knee cap.

Speaking of the Lakers, Dwight Howard did what was considered the unthinkable last summer, which was leave the Lakers to play in a smaller market for less money. The circumstances and specifics make the decision completely reasonable for Dwight, but it's nonetheless pretty unheard of in the organization's history. Along similar lines, the Yankees let a high end player and career Yankee (Robinson Cano) leave for the Mariners over money. Granted, it was absolutely the right decision, but nonetheless pretty eyeopening for this franchise. Are we seeing a shift in culture for two of the biggest brands in sports?

We can't talk about LA sports without referring to Puig-Mania. The Dodgers have a rookie for the ages and his call up coincides with the team turning around their season and finally playing like the All-Star, high salaried team they are, despite often competing without some of the key names. They eventually win the NL West and make it to the NLCS before losing to the Cardinals.

The Lane Kiffin era ends at USC, with Steve Sarkisian (ironically, a very close friend of Kiffin's) tapped to replace him, despite what many felt was momentum building for popular interim head coach and longtime 'SC fixture Ed Orgeron.

Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito mess, and the Riley Cooper incident with the Eagles. The former deals with bullying in the NFL (and sports in general) and both (along with a Tweeting incident with Matt Barnes of the Clippers) deals with the N-Word, its presence in locker room culture, who can get away with using it, who can't. Should anybody use it at all?

Rutgers, with basketball coach Mike Rice who was dismissed after video of him verbally and physically abusing players surfaced. So that turned out to be a theme on both the collegiate and pro levels.

Drugs never far from any discussion of sports. The Biogenesis scandal and A-Rod, which has created a mess still going on as we speak. Also Lance Armstrong finally admits.

The Heat go back to back to defend their title. If there are any criticisms left about LeBron at this point, they can officially be described as "petty."

Aaron Hernandez arraigned on murder charges. 

Mariano Rivera retires after a legendary career entirely with the Yankees.

The Ravens win the Super Bowl, capping a game where the lights went out, brothers John and Jim Harbaugh coached against each other and quarterback Joe Flacco enjoyed a huge postseason after refusing Baltimore's original contract extension offer. He opted instead to bet on himself, and came up huge, landing a much pricier deal. Also, first ballot Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis retired after this game, a fantastic end for the career-Raven.

Johnny Manziel, and how his offseason drama and NCAA issues became the flashpoint for a discussion about college athletes getting paid, and the increasingly pro-attitudes towards compensation.

PBS's League of Denial documentary comes out, but not before ESPN, who'd been a partner in its creation, formally distances itself from the project. It's widely reported as a reaction to pressure from the NFL.