Kobe Bryant (January 26, age 41): A foggy, Los Angeles Lakers icon died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning in California, along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others. “Black Mamba” played 20 years for the Lakers, was a five-time NBA champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and an Academy Award winner for “Fear Basketball” in 2018.
Diego Maradona (died November 25, age 60): His impact can be measured by announcing two days of state mourning on his death in Kerala. It was only a day short of Argentina, which led them to the 1986 World Cup title, scoring a ‘Hand of God’ goal, a ‘Goal of the Century’, and a final in 1990. In Naples, where he added glitter. Napoli took them to two Italian League titles and the 1989 UEFA Cup, they named the stadium after them.
Paolo Rosi (died 9 December 64 years): Three games of the 1982 World Cup took him from damnation to salvation. “Pablito” went to the World Cup with a string of match fixing and became the highest scorer, best player and World Cup winner. His hat-trick knocked out a fiery Brazilian, his double knocked out Poland in the semi-finals and his goal in the final put Italy on their way to the first World Cup since 1938. Over 100 goals in Serie A and won the 1985 World Cup. Juventus.
PK Banerjee (died 20 March, age 83): For nearly 50 years, he remained involved with football. As a player, the outside right played two Olympics, leading India to the 1960 Games and three Asian Games. He scored the first goal in the 1962 Asian Games final where India defeated South Korea. Together with Chunni Goswami and Tulsidas Balaram, they formed a stunning trio, scoring 20 of India’s 36 goals between 1958 and 1962. He transitioned into a successful coach, helping India win bronze at the 1970 Asian Games and Mohammad Bagan and East Bengal winning several home titles.
Chuni Goswami (died 30 April, age 81): After retiring from football, he led Bengal to the final of the Ranji Trophy. Playing inside-left, he led India to runners-up in the 1962 Asian Games gold, 1964 Asian Cup and was part of the 1960 Olympic team. A sly dodger on the football field with a powerful shot, he played for Mohun Bagan for a lifetime and gained traffic-stopping popularity. His partner for the club and the country, Jarnail Singh, said that he was an artist.
Chetan Chauhan (died 16 August, age 73): He was the second part of a permanent opening partnership that included Sunil Gavaskar and lasted 40 Tests for India. He scored 11 centuries, 10 as opener. His partner for Delhi and India, Madan Lal, said as a batsman – and in life – he can “get stuck”. It described the man who was beginning to play for Maharashtra, was sidelined after three Tests, but bounced back and grilled through an international career that served him for three decades. He was also an MP and Minister in the current UP government.
Balbir Singh Sr. (died 25 May, age 97): The player, manager or coach, India never missed the stage when he was involved. India’s only World Cup in hockey came in 1975 when he was the manager; India won bronze with him as a coach in 1971. As a center-forward, he scored six goals in the 1948 Olympics and five in the final — a record — in the 1952 edition. In 1956, he was the captain and helped India win the Olympic gold medal. Invited as a living legend for the 2012 Olympics, he usually refused to talk about how good he was, adding that hockey was a team game and would be nothing without his teammates.
Bapu Nadkarni (died 17 January, 87 years): The story of his skills as a left-arm spinner in a 13-year career with 41 Tests and 88 wickets has not been told. He played a part in India’s first overseas series win against New in 1967-68, but it was the inability of the batsmen to dismiss him that made him stand out. Since his six-ball over in the Test, he had 21 consecutive stunts — and five runs in 32 overs. — Lived as a record against England in 1964. First against Pakistan, Maidan was in 24 of his 32 overs. Another time in the same series. 24 out of 34 overs were Maiden. He also scored a Test century against England.
Everton Week (died July 1, age 95): Two others from Three WS — Frank Worrell and Clyde Wolcott — he was the longest-lived, most successful batsman and was rated the best by Richie Benaud and Keith Miller. The 1948 tour of India cost him five consecutive centuries — no one did so — and was dismissed for 90 in the sixth inning. He scored at an average of over 100 and scored seven out of 15 centuries against India. “He was a tremendous hitter of the ball,” Worrell said of the man who played the bridge and was named after a football club in Liverpool.
Dean Jones (died 24 September, aged 59): Cricket fans of a certain age may remember him for the Dogged 210 in the 1986 Test against India — the greatest innings by an Australian batsman, Bobby Simpson said — his aggressive style of batting in ODIs, His fielding and how he helped revive Australia with Alan Border. Fans of later generations will remember him as a pundit and a coach who helped Islamabad United win two Pakistan Super League titles. He was part of the IPL commentary team in Mumbai when he died following a heart attack.
Jack Charlton (died July 10, age 85): “Big Jack” died seven days before Leeds United, his club for 23 years, returning to the Premier League after 16 years. A final bloomer for England, the center-back and elder brother of Bobby Charlton was an important player in the 1966 World Cup, where he formed a fine partnership with Bobby Moore. He also played in the 1970 World Cup and was the coach of the Republic of Ireland at the 1988 Euro, 1990 and 1994 World Cups.
Michael kindo (Died December 31, aged 73): Known for his assured tackles, the defender was part of the 1975 World Cup winning team and won bronze at the 1972 Olympics. He also played in the 1971 and 1973 World Cups and the 1974 Asian Games. The first tribal to play hockey for independent India, he also inspired the likes of Sylvanus Dungdung, Vimal Lakda and Dilip Tirkey.
Remember them too: Gerard Haulier (died 14 December, age 73); Carlton Chapman (died 12 October, age 49); Papa Bouba Dip (died 20 November; 42 years); Nobby Stiles (died 30 October; age 78); Robert Ryland (died August 2, age 100); Reefer Johnson (died 2 December; 86 years); Ramesh Tikaram (died 16 July, age 51); Ashley Cooper (died 22 May; 83 years), John Ederick (died 23 December, 83 years), Alejandro Sabella (died 8 December, 66 years), Nikhil Nandi (died 29 December, 88 years, 88 years), Anurita Saini (died in December), age 60).
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