I’m Chuck Wilson with an ESPN Radio Extra Point.
Two stories this week about sportsmanship…one regrettable, the other uplifting.
The disappointing story unfolded in the Little League baseball tournament when a 12-year-old, before stepping into the batter’s box, made like Babe Ruth, pointing his bat toward the outfield showing his opponent where he would be hitting the ball. Then, after actually hitting the ball deep to center, the youngster stood at 2nd base and did the “I’m the Man” routine…”look at me, look at me”.
It was, of course, the kind of “showing off” that gets played up on SportsCenter and elsewhere and that’s a shame.
But while lamenting the continuing lack of respect in sports, word came of a gesture that represents the best of sport.
At the request of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird will be Magic’s presenter at the Basketball Hall-of-Fame inductions this fall.
Rarely do you see rivals serve in such a role.
But Magic and Larry, two of the most important players in the history of their sport, showed through more than a decade of hard-fought games, that you can develop the most intense of rivalries, without dishonoring your opponent.
They shared a respect for the game and each other.
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Chuck Wilson is an award-winning host, interviewer, and commentator. He was an original host on ESPN Radio and was with the network for close to 17-years. In 2007, Wilson was named one of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America by the Institute for International Sport. He is the founder of Even Field.