Sports Stars Who Died in 2013
By: Legacy Staff
5 years ago
2013 saw the deaths of many greats of the sports world - players and owners from our favorite football, baseball and basketball teams, as well as legends from the worlds of boxing, golf, tennis and more. Here are a few of the most notable sports stars who died in 2013.
Bud Adams, owner of the NFL's Tennessee Titans who helped found the American Football League, dies at 90. The son of a prominent oil executive, Adams built his own energy fortune and founded the Houston Oilers. He moved the team to Tennessee in 1997 when he couldn't get the new stadium he wanted in Houston. In 2000, the franchise, renamed the Titans, reached the Super Bowl that Adams had spent more than three decades pursuing. Read more
Miller Barber, the unique-swinging golfer who made the most combined starts on the PGA and Champions tours, dies at 82.
Walt Bellamy, Hall of Fame NBA center who averaged more than 20 points in 14 seasons in the NBA, dies at 74. "Walt Bellamy was an enormously gifted Hall of Fame player who had a tremendous impact on our game," NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement released by the league. The former Indiana University star won an Olympic gold medal in 1960 and was the first overall pick by the Chicago Packers in 1961. He was the rookie of the year with Chicago, averaging 31.6 points and 19.0 rebounds, and also played for the Baltimore Bullets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta and New Orleans Jazz. Read more
Jerry Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers' playboy owner who shepherded the NBA franchise to 10 championships from the '80s Showtime dynasty to the Kobe Bryant era, dies at 80. Under Buss' leadership since 1979, the Lakers became Southern California's most beloved sports franchise and a worldwide extension of Hollywood glamour. Buss acquired, nurtured and befriended a staggering array of talented players and basketball minds during his Hall of Fame tenure. Read more
Todd Christensen, former Oakland Raiders Tight End who caught 467 passes in his NFL career, dies at 57 from complications following liver transplant surgery.
Art Donovan, pro football Hall of Fame defensive end who also made a living on the talk show circuit with his colorful stories of his playing days, dies at 89. He made a name for himself as a feisty defensive tackle for the Baltimore Colts, helping the team to world championships in 1958 and 1959. Donovan was much like Bob Uecker, who also became popular on late-night talk shows through his stories about sports. But Uecker's game was baseball, and his schtick dealt with his limited abilities. Donovan performed on the football field as well as anyone at his position, even though he once said the only weight he ever lifted was a beer can. Read more
L.C. Greenwood, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end who was part of the "steel curtain" Super Bowl teams of the 1970s, dies at 67.
Emile Griffith, former world boxing champion, dies at 75.
Harlon Hill, former star wide receiver for the Chicago Bears, dies at 80.
Dave Jennings, former New York Giants punter and radio analyst, dies at 61.
Deacon Jones, Hall of Fame defensive end credited with coining the word "sack" for how he knocked down quarterbacks, dies at 74. "Deacon Jones was one of the greatest players in NFL history. Off the field, he was a true giant," said Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, whose father, George, coached Jones with the Los Angeles Rams. Jones was the leader of the Rams' Fearsome Foursome unit from 1961-71 and then played for San Diego for two seasons before finishing his career with the Redskins in 1974. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and made the league's 75th anniversary all-time squad. Read more
Vern Mikkelsen, Hall of Fame basketball player who won four NBA titles with the Minneapolis Lakers, dies at 85.
Caleb Moore, innovative freestyle snowmobile rider, who was hurt in a crash at the Winter X Games in Colorado, dies at 25. A former all-terrain vehicle racer, Moore switched over to snowmobiles as a teenager and quickly rose to the top of the sport. He won four Winter X Games medals in his career. Read more
Gertrude "Gussie" Moran, who shocked the modest midcentury tennis world when she took the court at Wimbledon with a short skirt and ruffled underwear, died at 89. As a 25-year-old seventh seed at Wimbledon in 1949, Moran made jaws drop and flashbulbs pop at the usually staid All-England Club in London when she showed up for her first match minus the knee-length skirt considered proper for women at the time. She lost the match, but her striking fashion statement appeared on magazine covers around the world, the British press dubbing her "Gorgeous Gussie." Read more
Chuck Muncie, Pro Bowl running back with both the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers, dies at 60.
Stan "The Man" Musial, one of baseball's greatest hitters and a Hall of Famer with the St. Louis Cardinals for more than two decades, dies at 92. Stan the Man won seven National League batting titles, was a three-time MVP and helped the Cardinals capture three World Series championships in the 1940s. Musial was so revered in St. Louis, two statues of him stand outside Busch Stadium. He spent his entire 22-year career with the Cardinals and made the All-Star team 24 times — baseball held two All-Star games each summer for a few seasons. Read more
Ken Norton, the former heavyweight champion who beat Muhammad Ali and then lost a controversial decision to him in Yankee Stadium, died Wednesday at 70. Few gave Norton, who possessed a muscular, sculpted body, much of a chance against Ali in their first fight, but his awkward style and close-in pressing tactics confused his opponent and Norton broke Ali's jaw on the way to the decision that put him in the top echelon of heavyweight fighters. Read more
Jack Pardee, one of Bear Bryant's "Junction Boys" at Texas A&M who went on to become an All-Pro linebacker and an NFL coach, dies at 76.
Bum Phillips, colorful former head coach of the Houston Oilers, dies at 90.
George Sauer, New York Jets wide receiver who was a member of the 1969 Super Bowl Championship team, dies from Alzheimer's disease at 69.
Bill Sharman, NBA hall of fame player and coach who won titles as a player with the Boston Celtics and as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, dies at 87. He won four NBA titles during an 11-season career as a shooting guard in Boston, teaming with Bob Cousy in one of the most potent backcourts in league history. He was widely considered one of the greatest shooters of his era, and he's still ranked as one of the NBA's best free-throw shooters. Sharman then spent the past four decades with Los Angeles as a coach and executive. In his first season in charge, he coached the 1971-72 Lakers to a championship with 69 victories — then an NBA record — and a 33-game winning streak, the longest in pro sports history. Read more
Pat Summerall, NFL player and legendary sports broadcaster known for doing play by play of NFL games with his partner John Madden, dies at 82. Summerall was part of network television broadcasts for 16 Super Bowls. His last championship game was for Fox on Feb. 3, 2002, also his last game with longtime partner Madden. The popular duo worked together for 21 years, moving to Fox in 1994 after years as the lead team for CBS. At the end of their final broadcast together, Madden described Summerall as "a treasure" and the "spirit of the National Football League" in a tribute to the partner that complemented the former coach so well. Read more
Ken Venturi, pro golfer who won the 1964 U.S. Open and was a long time golf broadcaster for CBS sports, dies at 82.
Earl Weaver, Hall of Fame manager for the Baltimore Orioles for 17 years known for his fiery temper, who led the team to a World Series championship in 1970, dies at 82. Weaver finished with a 1,480-1,060 record. He won Manager of the Year three times. "Earl was such a big part of Orioles baseball and personally he was a very important part of my life and career and a great friend to our family," Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken said. Read more
Joe Weider, legendary figure in bodybuilding who helped popularize the sport worldwide and played a key role in introducing a charismatic young weightlifter named Arnold Schwarzenegger to the world, dies at 93.