Monday, January 3
10 people who impacted sports

 10. Knute Rockne
The legendary Notre Dame coach did more than inspire victory by "winning one for the Gipper." His list of influences on college football began when he was an end for the Irish in 1913. That year, he and quarterback Gus Dorias helped popularlize the forward pass when they upset mighty Army. Rockne was the first coach to travel all over the country with his team, instituting cross-sectional rivalries. He designed his own equipment and reduced the weight and bulk of the gear. He foresaw two-platoon football and would often rest regulars by playing a full team of second-stringers. When most teams ran the ball on the ground, Rockne insisted passing was an important element of the game.

9. Peter Ueberroth
Ah, remember when sports marketing consisted of seat cushion night and the halftime hoopshoot? As head of the organizing committee for the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984, Ueberroth introduced the sporting world to the concept of corporate sponsorship. While many experts predicted those Olympics would turn into a financial nightmare (like the Montreal games of 1976), Ueberroth instead turned an enormous profit by selling the rights to every "official" item he could think of, from soft drinks to food products to automobiles.

8. Howard Cosell
Howard Cosell
Howard Cosell annually led the most disliked -- and most liked -- lists of sportscasters.
When Monday Night Football hit the airwaves in 1970, nobody believed it would turn into the second-longest running primetime television series in history. Heck, many predicted it would fail miserably in the ratings. But Cosell, the loudmouthed know-it-all, was one of a kind. You loved him or hated him. Either way, you tuned in the game to listen to Howard. Monday Night Football became more than just another game; it became an event.

7. Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth didn't really invent the home run, he just made it an integral part of the game. Babe Ruth didn't really save baseball from the Black Sox scandal of 1919, he just helped turn it into the national pastime. Babe Ruth didn't create the New York Yankees, he just helped turn them into a dynasty. Babe Ruth didn't invent big salaries for athletes, he just happened to make more than the President.

6. Arnold Palmer
Palmer impacted sports in two ways. In the early 1960s, he became the most popular golfer ever and helped transform the sport from an elitist activity into a more inclusive pastime. His popularity can be linked to golf's growth on television in the '60s and the increase in public courses. Later, he became the first athlete to make millions of dollars away from his sport. With the help of agent Mark McCormack, Palmer's endorsement deals and investments showed athletes the true potential of outside income.

5. Walter O'Malley
O'Malley wasn't the first owner to relocate his franchise, but when he moved the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958, sports entered a new era. He took a popular franchise that was playing in a decaying ballpark in a decaying neighborhood and moved it to where there was money and population -- oh, and free land to build his new ballpark. In essence, Dodger Stadium was the first "modern" ballpark, with its large parking lot, easy freeway access and plenty of leg room. Thanks to Dodger Stadium, the team became enormously profitable, sparking the stadium-building boom of the late '60s and early '70s. And owners in all sports copied the O'Malley blueprint of getting something for nothing -- they, too, held their cities hostage until they received new stadiums or arenas.

4. Magic Johnson & Larry Bird
Paul Allen
Scott Boras
Kobe Bryant
Dolan Family
Billy Donovan
Brian France
The Internet
Michael Jordan
Master P
Tiger Woods
A rivalry that began in the 1979 NCAA championship game shifted to the NBA and helped transform a league that aired its championship games nationally on tape delay. In the 1980s, either the Lakers or Celtics were in the NBA Finals every season. Three times, they played each other, helping spark a moribund league to greater heights. From their famous Converse commercials to their famous meetings on the court, the NBA marketing machine capitalized on the Johnson and Bird rivalry. Television ratings soared, attendance doubled and the league was saved.

3. Marvin Miller
Miller was the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association in the 1970s and, more than any individual, is responsible for the huge salaries of today's athletes. He fought the owners on many issues -- and always won. Before him, players had basically no rights; they were stuck with one team until sold, traded or released. But Miller won his union free agency and from 1976 to 1980, the average baseball salary tripled. Eventually, all the major sports would have similar systems.

2. Pete Rozelle
Rozelle was a compromise choice when he was elected NFL commissioner in 1960. Some second choice he turned out to be. Rozelle revolutionized football over the next decade. Foremost, he understood the importance of television and negotiated a league-wide contract that split the money equally among all teams. He got owners working together for the betterment of the entire league, not just their own individual franchises. He presided over the NFL-AFL merger that led to the first Super Bowl in 1967. He was convinced Monday Night Football would be a success.

1. Jackie Robinson
Many have impacted sports. Few have made this country a better place to live.

Katz: Magic and Bird did it all

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