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Notable sports deaths in 2020

New York Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner outside their
Kobe Bryant of the Lakers looks on against
David Stern, commissioner of the National Basketball Association
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The Harlem Globetrotters' Fred "Curly" Neal, has died

Notable sports deaths

David Stern

David Stern, the commissioner who transformed the NBA from a financially troubled fringe league to a global and cultural powerhouse, died on Jan 1. He was 77.

Don Larsen

Don Larsen, who carved his name forever in baseball history on Oct. 8, 1956 in Game 5 of the World Series, a moment frozen forever with the black-and-white image of Yankees catcher Yogi Berra leaping into his arms after the final called strike of his perfect game, died on Jan. 1. He was 90.

Sam Wyche

Sam Wyche, who pushed the boundaries as an offensive innovator with the Cincinnati Bengals and challenged the NFL's protocols along the way, died of melanona on Jan. 2. He was 74.

Rocky Johnson

Rocky "Soulman" Johnson, a WWE Hall of Fame wrestler who became better known as the father of actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, died on Jan 15. He was 75.

Kobe Bryant 

NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and three others were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Jan. 26 at age 41.

Chris Doleman

Chris Doleman, a Pro Football Hall of Fame pass rusher, died on Jan. 28, two years after being diagnosed with brain cancer. He was 58. He had 150 1/2 career sacks.

Willie Wood

Willie Wood, a Hall of Fame defensive back and five-time NFL champion with the Packers, died on Feb. 3. at age 83. He made the first interception in Super Bowl history.

Tony Fernandez

Tony Fernandez was a slick-fielding shortstop for 17 MLB seasons, mostly with the Toronto Blue Jays. He also played one season each for the Mets and Yankees. Fernandez died on Feb. 16 after complications from a kidney disease at age 57.

Mickey Wright

Mickey Wright, who won 13 majors among her 82 victories and gave the fledgling LPGA a crucial lift, died Feb. 17 of a heart attack at age 85.

Roger Mayweather

Roger Mayweather, a former world boxing champion and trainer of his nephew Floyd Mayweather Jr., died on March 17 at age 58. Mayweather had suffered from diabetes and other long-term health issues.

Fred 'Curly' Neal

Fred “Curly” Neal, the dribbling wizard who entertained millions with the Harlem Globetrotters for parts of three decades, died on March 26, He was 77.

Tom Dempsey

Tom Dempsey, the kicker born without toes on his kicking foot who made a then-record 63-yard field goal, died on April 4 at age 73 while struggling with complications from the new coronavirus.

Bobby Mitchell

Bobby Mitchell, the speedy late 1950s and '60s NFL offensive star for the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins, died on April 5. The Pro Football Hall of Famer was 84.

Al Kaline

Al Kaline, who spent his entire 22-season Hall of Fame career with the Detroit Tigers and was known affectionately as “Mr. Tiger,” died on April 6 at age 85.

Tarvaris Jackson

Tarvaris Jackson, who played 10 seasons at quarterback in the NFL for the Seahawks, Vikings and Bills, died in a one-car crash outside Montgomery, Alabama, on Easter Sunday, April 12. He was 36.

Hank Steinbrenner

Hank Steinbrenner, co-owner of the Yankees and eldest son of the late George Steinbrenner, died after a long battle with an undisclosed illness on April 14. He was 63.

Don Shula

Don Shula, who won the most games of any NFL coach and led the Miami Dolphins to the only perfect season in league history, died on May 4 at his home at age 90.

MIke Storen

Mike Storen, a former ABA commissioner and multisport marketing whiz and the father of ESPN broadcaster Hannah Storm, died from cancer on May 7. He was 84.

Bob Watson

Bob Watson, a two-time All-Star as a player who later became the first black general manager to win a World Series with the Yankees in 1996, died on May 14 after a long battle with kidney disease. He was 74.

Phyllis George

Phyllis George, the former Miss America who became a female sportscasting pioneer on CBS's "The NFL Today," died on May 14 after a long fight with a blood disorder. She was 70.

Jerry Sloan

Jerry Sloan, the coach who took the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 on his way to a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame, died on May 22 at age 78 from complications related to Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

Tom Flatley

Tom Flatley, the Garden City football and lacrosse coach who exhibited quiet greatness as one of Long Island’s iconic high school coaches for more than 50 years, died on March 16 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.

Pat Dye

Pat Dye, a College Football Hall of Famer who took over an Auburn football program in 1981 and turned it into an SEC power, died June 1 at age 80.

Wes Unseld

Wes Unseld, the workmanlike Hall of Fame center who led Washington to its only NBA championship and was chosen one of the 50 greatest players in league history, died on June 2 after a series of health issues, most recently pneumonia. He was 74.

Claudell Washington

Claudell Washington, a two-time All-Star outfielder who played 17 seasons in the majors after being called up as a teenager by the Oakland Athletics, died on June 10. He was 65. 

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