From Kobe to Maradona, a year of staggering losses in sports
Not long after came a seismic jolt, the helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant in the fog-shrouded California hills that reverberated across sports and across continents. Deep into the year, a bookend to Bryant, Diego Maradona died from a heart attack in Argentina weeks after brain surgery, the waves of grief rippling across soccer. The losses, of course, came against a backdrop of a pandemic, its number of fatalities rolled out daily on TV screens. Niekro won 318 games and pitched until he was 48, his knuckleball dancing and mystifying batters across the decades. Kurt Thomas in 1978 became the first U.S. male gymnast to win a world title but lost an Olympic shot in 1980 because of the boycott.
Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2020
The world also said goodbye to U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement who died in July. Other former political figures who died this year include Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, New York Mayor David Dinkins, Arizona Gov. Here is a roll call of some influential figures who died in 2020 (cause of death cited for younger people, if available):___JANUARY___David Stern, 77. The guitarist who supplied the scratching, seething sound that fueled the highly influential British punk band Gang of Four. He fused African rhythms with funk to become one of the most influential musicians in world dance music.
Del Harris receives 2020's Chuck Daly achievement award
Harris was revealed Friday as this year’s winner of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award, as presented by the National Basketball Coaches Association. Harris coached in the NBA for 32 seasons, 14 of them as a head coach with Houston, Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Lakers. “I get introduced as Kobe’s first coach, Magic’s last coach and in the movie Space Jam,” Harris said. ON OLYMPICSSilver, in the same NBA TV interview, also addressed how the planned Tokyo Olympics next summer could affect next season's NBA calendar. GAME 2 REFSThe NBA selected James Capers as crew chief for Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.
Healthy George Karl starts podcast, may someday coach again
Basketball: The longtime NBA coach who has fought cancer three times is keeping the door open for getting back into the business, maybe as a head coach or possibly as an assistant. George Karl caught quite a few of his son's games in person before the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. He received the Melanoma Research Foundation's Courage Award in 2019 for recognition of the bravery he has shown in facing ocular melanoma.I dont wake up worrying about cancer," Karl said. Jerry was a very loyal and very demanding old-school coach, Karl said. Delving into specific topics is a reason why Karl enjoys the podcast: We can go a little deeper and be a little more soulful," Karl mused.
Former NFL, Cowboys quarterback Ryan Leaf arrested for domestic battery
Former NFL and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Ryan Leaf was arrested Friday on a charge of misdemeanor domestic battery. According to online records, Leaf, 44, was taken into custody around 2 p.m. in Palm Desert, Calif. He was booked into a Riverside County Sheriffs Department jail and later released on $5,000 bail, according to records. Leaf played for the Cowboys in 2001 after he was released by the then San Diego Chargers. The Cowboys released him in May 2002.
Jazz Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan dies at 78; Popovich once said Hes in a different league than I am
Sloan, who spent 23 years as coach of the Utah Jazz and took the team to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, died Friday at 78. Before coming to Utah, I was certainly aware of Coach Sloan and what he meant to the NBA and to the coaching world, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said Friday. That incident on December the 13th, 1977, made me realize that there are a lot more things more important than basketball, Sloan said in 2009. He remains the only NBA player to average more than seven rebounds and more than two steals a game in his career. Jerry Reinsdorf called Sloan the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s.A great player and a Hall of Fame NBA coach," the Bulls chairman said Friday.
Jerry Sloan, Former Utah Jazz and Hall of Fame Coach, Dead at 78
Jerry Sloan, the former coach of the Utah Jazz that led them to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, has died at the age of 78 due to complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, the Jazz announced on Friday. The three of them spent a total of 18 seasons together, 15 with Sloan in the top job in Utah. From the Jazz:"Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. His 1,223 Jazz coaching wins, 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs and two NBA Finals appearances are remarkable achievements.