Lebron James boots fans and pro-Trump mob riots: Stories from 2021

As the new year approaches, USA TODAY is looking back on 2021.  

This year, the USA TODAY Network covered triumphs and tragedies alike, from gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We tracked vaccines and booster shots, kept up with viral stories and brought you breaking news from the worlds of sports, politics, culture and more.  

Millions of Americans received stimulus checks in 2021. An unprecedented storm hit the southern United States, and a skyscraper-sized ship blocked the Suez Canal for days.  

As we head into 2022, here’s a look at some of USA TODAY’s most-read stories from 2021.  

Americans receive third round of stimulus checks

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans across the country received stimulus payments in 2020 and 2021. This year saw a third round of payments amounting to $1,400 for a single person or $2,800 for a married couple filing jointly, but how much you may have received depended on your income and other factors.  

Money:Where is my third stimulus check? IRS updates ‘Get My Payment’ tool with information on new COVID payments

Good news:From daring rescues to medical breakthroughs, here are 12 of the happiest stories of 2021

Rioters breach the Capitol

On Jan. 6, pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol building in hopes of blocking President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over former President Donald Trump. Federal prosecutors have charged more than 600 people in over 40 states with allegedly participating in the deadly riot. 

DC updates:4 dead, 52 arrested, 14 police officers injured after pro-Trump rioters breach US Capitol

Pence navigates break with Trump

Former Vice President Mike Pence was excoriated by Trump at the end of their term in office for refusing to illegally intervene and prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, told USA TODAY in January that Pence was “very upset” over Trump’s criticism.   

Politics:An ‘angry’ Pence navigates the fallout of his rupture with Trump over election, Capitol riots

Referee’s fall saves his life

Bert Smith, a college basketball official, passed out during the men’s NCAA Tournament regional final between Gonzaga and Southern California in March. He tried to reassure friends and fans after the scary moment, but after going to the hospital, doctors discovered that Smith had a blood clot in his lung.  

Sports:Referee Bert Smith’s fall in men’s NCAA Tournament game didn’t kill him. It saved his life.

Lebron James has fans booted from game

LeBron James speaks with officials and points out a pair of courtside fans that were ejected.

Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James had two fans ejected from their courtside seats during a game against the Indiana Pacers in November. James didn’t immediately elaborate on what the fans did or said, but he called their actions “outside the line with obscene gestures and words.” 

NBA:Lakers star LeBron James has two fans ejected from courtside seats in Indiana

Popular flea collar alarms pet owners 

The Seresto flea and tick collar, one of the most popular collars of its kind in the country, garnered reports of thousands of adverse incidents, including pet deaths. While the company behind the collar has defended its safety, some are calling on federal regulators to ban it. 

Investigations:Popular flea collar linked to almost 1,700 pet deaths. The EPA has issued no warning.

Stories of the Year:A look back at the biggest moments of 2021

John Krasinski makes a splash on ‘SNL’ 

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "John Krasinski" Episode 1795 -- Pictured: (l-r) Host John Krasinski and Pete Davidson during the Monologue on Saturday, January 30, 2021 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)

Krasinski hosted “Saturday Night Live” for the show’s first episode of the year, making audiences across the country laugh after sharing a kiss with Pete Davidson and getting “arrested” for participating in the Capitol riot.  

‘SNL’:Krasinski shares kiss with Pete Davidson, gets ‘arrested’ for participating in Capitol

Mom arrested for posing as 13-year-old daughter  

A 30-year-old mother was arrested in the spring after she posed as her daughter at a middle school in Texas. The woman, Casey Garcia, said she did it to push for better security.  

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