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Sports Special – 1985 – Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award Ceremony – Host Merlin Olsen


One of the most prestigious sports awards given to the person with the most outstanding athletic achievement every year for the past 63 years….when in 1954….the man who broke the 4 minute mile record, Roger Bannister. won the innaugural Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award.  

This award has been won by such sports notables as Jackie Stewart (1973 – auto racing), Arnold Palmer (1960 – pga golf), LeBron James (2012 – NBA), Wayne Gretzky (1982 – NHL), Stevie Cauthren (1977 – horse racing Triple Crown Affirmed), Chris Evert (1976 – two major tennis titles), Muhammad Ali (1974 – boxing), Joe Montana (1990 – NFL), Coach John Wooden (1972 – NCAAM basketball), USA Hockey Team (1980 – Olympic gold), Serena Williams (2015 – 3 major tennis wins), Bill Russell (1968 – NBA), Michael Phelps (2008 – 8 Olympic gold medals), Pete Rose (1975 – MLB hits record). Sugar Ray Leonard (1981 – boxing)….and Mary Lou Retton (Olympic Individual All Around Female Gymnast gold medal) & Edwin Moses (Olympic men’s 400m hurdles gold medal winner) were selected dual winners in 1984….just to name a few of the incredible athletes whose names have graced this special award.

As seen in this video below….the 1985 Sportsman of the Year Award….the 5 finalists were Walter Payton for football….George Brett and Bret Saberhagen for baseball….Wayne Gretzky for hockey…Kareem Abdule Jabbar for basketball….and Marvelous Marvin Hagler for boxing….as the award was won by Los Angeles Lakers legendary center Kareem Abdule-Jabbar…who led the Lakers to the 1985 NBA championship and being named Playoffs MVP….as this was Kareem’s 4th NBA ring.  At the time of his retirement just 4 years later in 1989….Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the NBA’s all-time leader in points scored (38,387)…. games played (1,560)….minutes played (57,446) ….field goals made (15,837)….field goal attempts (28,307)….blocked shots (3,189)….defensive rebounds (9,394)….career wins (1,074)….and personal fouls (4,657).  He remains the all-time leading scorer in the NBA….and player with most career wins. He is ranked 3rd all-time in both rebounds and blocks. In 2007, ESPN voted him the greatest center of all time….and then in 2008….they named him the “greatest player in college basketball history”…..and in 2016….ESPN named him the second best player in NBA history behind Michael Jordan…..to which this lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile says….“HOG WASH”…..cuz Bill Russell with 11 championship rings was better than both Jabbar (6 rings) and Jordan (6 rings)….was the best of all time….but who asked me!?!

This special sports program of the 1985 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award was televised by NBC with Host Merlin Olsen of NFL Los Angeles Rams fame….featuring all kinds of highlights from the world of sports in 1985….to include the Chicago Bears run to the Super Bowl….the I-70 MLB World Series between the K C Royals vs St. Louis Cardinals….Bo Jackson running wild at Auburn University….Wayne Gretzky leading the Edmonton Oilers by setting 25 team records on their way to the Stanley Cup Title….Rollie Massimino’s Villanova Wildcats coming from nowhere to win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament….Benard King, Larry Bird and Dr. J manhandling the NBA…..as Bird led his team to the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers…..who were led by none other than Kareem Abdule-Jabbar….to Marvelous Marvin Hagler defeat of Thomas “Hitman” Hearns to hold on to his middleweight boxing title….and so much more….for this video is truly MUST SEE TV. 

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