He brought you "Taxgate,’’ "Coolergate’’ and "Pay-Per-Viewgate.’’ He went beyond his means, tried to fight the bigmoney boys at their own game and heard lots of hoots and applause as what was viewed as his pompous empire began to crumble around him, eroded by a sea of red ink.
Here are a few things to also remember about Jerry Colangelo.
• He wet-nursed the Suns from struggling infancy into an NBA model franchise. He brought the Diamondbacks, Rattlers, Mercury and Coyotes (ask around) to town, as well as the Sandsharks (indoor soccer) and the Smash (tennis) when the summer sports scene in Arizona was as desolate as the forecast.
• Showing the fruits of his labors, he turned this Valley on its ear three times: with the Suns in 1976 and 1993 and the Diamondbacks in 2001. And for those who weren’t here for the first two, I’m here to tell you the 1993 NBA Finals was an even bigger deal than the World Series in these parts.
• He took Arizona off the nasty list of sports cities that have never had a champion.
• He ran his sports teams the way he runs his life: with integrity, hard work and equal respect.
• For 36 years, Arizona sports fans have had a direct line to Colangelo via his KTAR radio talk shows and an always-open mailbox. Will the four dot-comers who now carry the checkbook at Bank One Ballpark ever have a show called "Talk to the Board’’?
A lot of words have been written over the last three days. Two words, in
particular, haven’t shown up enough: Well done.
• Congratulations to Greg Maddux on his 300 th win. But with all that Cy Young hardware, it’s not like he had to turn over the odometer to get into Cooperstown.
Want to really be impressed? Maddux needs four wins to get to 15 — for the 17 th consecutive season. No one can touch that.
• Did William Sanders really have to try to sell books, shout out to Jim Brown and once again refer to son Barry as "the third-best running back who ever lived" on Sunday? No. But Barry knew what was coming at his NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony. If he can live with it for 30 years, we can handle a few minutes.
• Someone keep Randy Johnson away from sharp instruments — and ESPN. Let’s hope the Big Unit, who would be a Cy Young award candidate again with any run support, doesn’t find out that Boston’s Tim Wakefield gave up six home runs Sunday. That’s the most by a major league pitcher in 64 years, and Wakefield still got a win vs. Detroit.
• During Team USA’s muchtoo-close win over Turkey on Sunday, ABC commentator Bill Walton said the rowdy crowd of 10,000 in the cramped Istanbul arena made it almost impossible for him to hear himself. If only the TV viewers back home could be so lucky.