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Home / Articles / Columnists / Sports Feature /  What's in Name?
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Wednesday, July 5,2017

What's in Name?

Plenty this time of the year

By Mark Tudino  



Given what’s been going on in and out of the arena lately, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to look at sports’ whimsical side. After all, it’s the middle of summer, and hoops and hockey have wrapped up their seasons. Football is still a month or two from gearing up, and baseball is approaching the dreaded “dog” days of its season, when even the most ardent fans struggle to stay interested in their team’s latest exploits. Other sports have their blips of attention: Wimbledon’s tennis and Golf’s Open championship are of interest, but otherwise July is, well, pretty boring.

It is, however, also the month in which we celebrate our nation’s birthday, so I thought it would be fun to look at some of sports’ more interesting patriotic names - that is, people whose names instantly convey a sense of nation or country. We’re not limited to active athletes. See how many you recognize and feel free to add your own.

For instance, any list should begin with old-timer George Washington, whose forgettable career included two seasons as a pitcher with the Chicago White Sox. Similarly, you would include former Cincinnati Bengal Sam Adams, a three-time pro bowler (apparently, there are other Sam Adams, but we’ll stay with one guy for now). Former Atlanta Braves outfielder David Justice would certainly rank, and no list would be complete without Packer great Bart Starr. Certainly, for the constitutionalists out there, Cardinal outfielder John Jay would qualify; so would female broadcaster Betsy Ross. Speaking of our national symbols, it would be cool to add as a group basketball player Michael Redd, football player Kevin White, and former pitching great Vida Blue.

If your taste runs to the more explosive, you could add former Notre Dame sensation Rocket Ismail, or even former 76er guard Lloyd Free, who decided international fame was more appealing and changed his name to World B. Free. Dallas Cowboy lineman Doug Free also fits on this list. Former Illinois forward Marcus Liberty and current Miami Heat forward Justice Winslow mesh; so does Alexander Hamilton, who hopes to see a lot of 10-dollar bills in his career as a professional basketball player. And we can’t forget our national bird, so let’s put broadcaster Ian Eagle in the group as well.

As you can see, this game could go on forever. Therefore feel free to contribute your own additions. And we didn’t even begin to list the towns that would qualify, like Freedom, Wisconsin (home of the state’s oldest Fourth of July parade); Eagle Pass, Texas; and with a nod to the 33 rd President Harry Truman, Independence, Missouri.

So, enjoy the day, remember its true meaning - and have a blast.



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