My Former Favorite Athlete

The great Joe Posnanski has started a fun project on his blog in which people write about their favorite athlete in 100 or fewer words.  Joe began with a wonderful tribute to his hero Duane Kuiper (yes, Duane Kuiper), and there have been terrific submissions since about Ted Williams, Tom Seaver, Julius Erving, Muhammed Ali, and others.

The authors have included newspaper heavyweights like Dave Berry, Leigh Montville, and David Kindred and while I don’t pretend to be in their class, I thought it would be interesting to take a shot.

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Like every kid growing up near Buffalo in the 1970’s, my hero was O.J. Simpson.  Sure our weather sucked and grown-ups said that the city was dying, but we had “The Juice” – not only the best player in the NFL, but the most articulate, handsome, and cool athlete on the planet.

Years later while on vacation in Costa Rica, I searched for a newspaper to find out where things stood in the NBA Finals between the Knicks and Rockets.  The front page headline read “Simpson Suspected in Wife’s Murder.”  It’s the only time that I remember being unable to speak.

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