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.
NFL Hall of Fame running back Paul Hornung dies at 84
Paul Hornung, of the Green Bay Packers, in an undated photo. Hornung's family confirmed his death to the Louisville Sports Commission and to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But he switched to halfback in the pros and was one of the NFL's most dynamic players in Green Bay. “The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Paul Hornung," said David Baker, the president and CEO of the Hall in Canton, Ohio. They’re a big reason why the Green Bay Packers are the Green Bay Packers.”Hornung is survived by his wife of 41 years, Angela.
Herb Adderley, star cornerback with 6 NFL titles, dies at 81
FILE - This Sept. 1972, file photo shows cornerback Herb Adderley, of the Dallas Cowboys NFL football team. Hall of Fame cornerback Herb Adderley has died. Adderley played on six NFL title teams over a 12-year career with Green Bay and Dallas. “Herb Adderley was yet another dominant figure for us on the Packers,” former Packers teammate Bill Curry tweeted. In 2007, Adderley and two other retired players filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL Players Association, alleging nonpayment of licensing fees.
Johnny Majors, former Tennessee and Pitt coach, dies at 85
FILE - In this April 14, 2018, file photo, Blue team coach Johnny Majors, a former Pittsburgh NCAA college football coach, is shown before the annual Blue Gold game in Pittsburgh. Majors, the coach of Pittsburghs 1976 national championship team and a former coach and star player at Tennessee, has died. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)KNOXVILLE, Tenn. College Football Hall of Famer Johnny Majors, the coach of Pittsburghs 1976 national championship team and a former coach and star player at Tennessee, died Wednesday. Majors went 33-13-1 in four years there and led Pittsburgh to a 12-0 record and national title in 1976. His father, Shirley Majors, was a longtime football coach at the University of the South in Sewanee.