We’re not even halfway through the year and we’ve already lost a plethora of sports personalities, athletes and Hall of Famers in their respective disciples. These sports stars, who are not with us today, leave behind an impeccable impact on the game that would be difficult to reproduce. The shocking deaths of these stars certainly caught us by surprise, and created a huge vacuum that would be difficult to fill.
Just days ago, the cricket fraternity was shocked by the sudden death of former Australian player Andrew Symonds in a car accident. From the cricket field to the soccer field, we look at five superstars who excelled in their respective sports and made a lasting impact on the sporting world before embarking on their heavenly abode.
As the world celebrated the New Year, American football fans mourned the loss of former NFL player and coach Dan Reeves, who succumbed to a battle with dementia. In his 39-year career, Reeves competed in nine Super Bowls, winning two with the Dallas Cowboys (including one as an assistant coach). However, the late veteran is known for his coaching excellence, leading the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl and also winning six division titles with them. He was also the head coach of the New York Giants for four seasons.
The basketball court also had its share of grief over the loss of Bob Lanier days ago. The NBA Hall of Famer and former Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks player has died after a short illness. The 6′ 11-inch tall athlete was an eight-time NBA All-Star and a staple of the NBA family for over 50 years. In a 14-year career, Lanier played as a center and excelled alongside the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Nate Thurmond.
The loss of an athlete is difficult to bear, especially when a young and promising talent falls victim to nature’s cruel game. The NFL world woke up on the morning of April 9th to another shocking piece of news. Fans and teammates were all in disbelief after the devastating news of Dwayne Haskins’ death in an accident shattered the internet. The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback died aged 24 after being hit by a dump truck. Haskins was part of the Washington squad for two years before signing for Pittsburgh.
“Hard work pays off, dreams come true, bad times don’t last, bad guys do,” were the profound words Scott Hall found during his 2014 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Well, one of our favorite WWE Superstars left for heaven this year due to complications related to surgery. Better known by his ring name Razor Ramon, the WWE icon was best known for his technique, charisma and on-screen swagger. He was a four-time Intercontinental Champion with WWF (now WWE) and provided a showstopper of a ranked match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X.
It’s been a tough year for Australian cricket. The Aussies have lost many cricket figures this year including Andrew Symonds and Rodney Marsh. The biggest superstar to bid us farewell, however, was rotary wizard Shane Warne. A legend of football and a controversial figure on and off the field, Warne was one of the most prolific leg spinners the game has ever seen.
Despite playing many home games on a pitch not considered conducive to spin bowling, he managed to scalp 708 wickets in Test matches and 293 in ODIs. The Spin King even led Indian Premier League (IPL) team Rajasthan Royals to their first and only title as captain and coach of the side. His only ball, which blew Mike Gatting’s feet at Manchester, is widely regarded as the ball of the century and serves as a fond memory for cricket fans to cherish for years to come.