Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names. Like all other years, 2020 also witnessed the passing of notable and iconic sportspersons, some of whom gone far too soon. In fact, the year 2020 will go down in the annals of modern history as one of the worst years which has witnessed gloom and doom like no other years. The sporting world will also remember this year as one of the black swans that took away from it the otherwise action-packed gala. This year, we have bid adieu to some of the biggest sports names who left behind a big vacuum and stellar legacies.
Here are just a few sports figures who went the way of all flesh in 2020.
Kobe Bryant (1978 – 2020)
Also called the “Black Mamba”, Kobe Bryant was an NBA Hall of Famer who won five NBA championship rings with Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA legend was killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. He was 41.
Balbir Singh Sr. (1923 – 2020)
Balbir Singh Sr. – a legend in field hockey – won Olympic medals in 1948, 1952 and 1956 Summer Games. He was conferred with the Padma Shri and awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Life Time Achievement Award by Hockey India in 2014. On May 25, the hockey star passed away at a hospital in Mohali, Punjab. He was 96.
Chuni Goswami (1938 – 2020)
Chuni Goswami was the Indian football legend who represented India in the Olympics and the Asia Cup. Post-retirement from football, Chuni played a total of 46 first-class cricket tournaments. He was awarded the Arjuna and the Padma Shri in 1963 and 1983, respectively. Chuni Goswami died April 30 in Kolkata after a prolonged illness. He was 82.
Diego Maradona (1960-2020)
The soccer legend was regarded as one of the finest football players of all time. Diego Maradona captained the Argentinian national team to victory in the 1986 world cup. He died November 25 of a heart attack at the age of 60.
Paolo Rossi (1956 – 2020)
Italian football legend Paolo Rossi earned nation-wide acclaim for his hat-trick against Brazil in the 1982 tournament. He became a national hero. He was also voted as the European Footballer of the Year 1982. The footballer aged 64 died of lung cancer.
Dean Jones (1961-2020)
Also known as “Professor Deano”, former Australian batsman made his debut in international cricket across both formats in 1984. The right-handed batsman rose to glory after hitting an epic 210-run knock on Indian soil during the historic tied Test in Chennai (then Madras) in 1986. The Australian great was one of the pillars of the 1987 WC winning Australian squad. Jones breathed his last September 24 due to heart attack in Mumbai. He was 59.
Joe Morgan (1943-2020)
American professional baseball player Joe Morgan was reckoned as one of the greatest second basemen of all time. As a key player of the Cincinnati Reds’ famed Big Red Machine, Morgan bagged the National League Most Valuable Player award for two years in a row. The Hall of Famer was also a 10-time All-Star and a five-time Gold Glove Award winner. Morgan died October 11 at the age of 77 in Danville, California.
Wes Unseld (1946-2020)
Former Washington Bullets’ Hall of Famer was named as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA’s league history. As one of the greatest rebounders of all time, Unseld led the Bullets, now the Wizards, for the NBA championship in 1978. He was named Finals Most Valuable Player for his efforts. Unseld won the Most Valuable Player honour in his rookie season. He died June 2 at 74.
On the very first day of this year, the world woke up to the tragic news of the death of former New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen. Apart from the notable loss (above), there are other sports figures, such as Indian Left-Arm Spinner Rajinder Goel (1942 – 2020); Indian Test-Opener Chetan Chauhan (1947 – 2020); American professional baseball pitcher Whitey Ford (1928 – 2020); American baseball Hall of Famer Bob Gibson (1935 – 2020); American Gridiron soccer player Gayle Sayers (1943 – 2020); American baseball outfielder Lou Brock (1939 – 2020); American baseball pitcher Tom Seaver (1944 – 2020), who have left us for heavenly abode in 2020.