|Who's your hero?|
Page 2 staff
They're the best of the best, exemplifying all the courage and nobility and genius and hard work and modesty and ambition and humility and grace that can be displayed in modern American sports. They're the ones we really want to be like when the going gets tough, they're the ones we want to show our sons and daughters. They are our heroes.
Page 2 gave you our list, then asked for your opinion and you answered the call.
We've received more than 3,500 emails. Here are your most popular selections along with some of the best letters.
Robinson was the ultimate team player. He stepped aside and let Tim Duncan be the man as a rookie, he himself having been the No. 1 guy since he was drafted. Most athletes with big heads and egos and contracts would have left or whined about something like that. He shows on and off the court how a professional should conduct themselves. Off the court, he gives back to his community and didn't get caught up in drugs and all that junk. He also served his country in the military and I respect that.
He doesn't whine about calls, he RESPECTS other players and coaches, and proves that determination and commitment can accomplish anything. He's an MVP, he is a champion and he is a representative of this country on many fronts. David Robinson is a symbol of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage on and off the court. He is a true hero.
I shouldn't have to list reasons why, but here it is, for those with severe memory loss:
Nobody in sports could be a bigger hero than MJ. Who else could command a five-minute standing ovation as a visiting player -- in PHILLY?
In an era of overpaid athletes and whiny superstars, Cal may not have coddled the media like the Jordan's of the world, but he was there at the ballpark every single day, talking to the fans that he played for. As he made his way around Camden Yards during his victory lap after breaking Gehrig's streak, the fans weren't just reaching out to him, they were reaching out to an old friend. And he was reaching right back, to the average-Joe fans that he so embraced.
After the personal, physical and emotional tests that he has been through; I can't believe you left Lance Armstrong off of your list.
Battling back to health is quite an accomplishment, but to dominate the most strenous athletic event in the world -- three times -- certainly makes him a hero. Go, Lance, go ...
He took the game of golf to the masses, brought it to the public golfer. His working-class attitude toward the game (yes, I know, he was raised on a country club), his work ethic and his charisma carried golf to the next level. The masses became the audience. It wasn't just for the golfers anymore.
In some sense, he gave birth to golf on television. He enjoyed the crowds, the attention, the chance to give back (unlike someone in today's game) and carried their hopes in each slashing swing. There were greats before him (Jones, Hogan, Nelson, et al.) and great players, perhaps the greatest of all-time, followed him. But, no one gave the game at the most proper moment a true gentleman, hero, and spokesperson. Arnold Palmer IS an American and worldwide hero.
Even Muhammad Ali knew it as soon as he met him. For crying out loud, wars in some countries actually stopped when he came to play there. If they would have had the endorsement machines that they have today, you would be saying, "Michael who?" Simply the greatest player in the world's favorite sport. And I am a true blue American!!
Babe Didrikson Zaharias
Not too shabby, huh?
And all of this was before her golf career, which gave her 82 titles in twenty years and included a 17-in-a-row amateur tournament win streak. She won her third US Women's Open after undergoing an operation for intestinal cancer. She is a founding member of the LPGA, and probably most driving force in its creation. She ultimately died of cancer at only 42. Imagine what her legacy would have been with another twenty or thirty years in sports? She was a trailblazers for women's athletics and a hero for all.
Wayne Gretzky was the greatest scorer, but Orr was the best player. To this day I have never seen a single hockey player take the puck and skate around the rink with opponents chasing him trying to get the puck away. Orr would do that on a regular basis. You'd think he had Velcro on his stick to make the puck stay with him as he circled around opponents, leaving them wondering where he went. In hockey -- he was the combination of Bird and Magic. And on top of all that, he maintained a squeaky-clean image.
Teddy Ballgame should be on the list.