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Home / Articles / Columnists / Sports Feature /  Friendships in sports – Just Like Us
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Friday, August 7,2015

Friendships in sports – Just Like Us

By Mark Tudino  

One of the advantages in writing this column is from time to time, personal experiences can offer an idea or two for the next issue. That was the case recently when a very good pal of mine, after a successful career in broadcasting, decided to move back to his native New York City. He and his wife have been the folks I would often visit when I returned to my alma mater, and in many respects, that friendship has helped keep my love for the university going strong - to the point where I’ve had the chance to introduce other young people to the opportunities available there, and now they are part of that university.


This got me to thinking about friendships – and sports. And how some of the most famous people in sports have formed relationships with other famous people, sometimes not even in their own sports. The most obvious example for us locally, would be the Lebron James/ Dwayne Wade combination which resulted in 4 straight trips to the NBA finals, including two titles. Those guys, who were part of the same draft class of 2003, a class which also included Carmelo Anthony, made no secret that part of the reason they wanted to play with one another (apart from the obvious) was that as friends they rarely had the chance to share their talents on the court (except for All-Star games and the Olympics), and they wanted to have that shared experience. Despite LBJ’s decision to leave for Cleveland, no one can argue that paring was not a resounding success.

As mentioned earlier, the relationships don’t even have to be in the same sport. Right after the outbreak of World War II, a young Jackie Robinson was in training at Fort Riley in Kansas. He struck up a friendship with a guy who was infinitely more famous that was he, a fellow named Joe Louis. The heavyweight champ and Robinson often played golf together and Joe was instrumental in helping Jackie (as well as other black soldiers) gain entrance into Officer’s Candidate School. That relationship would continue for the rest of their lives. In modern times, before he became entangled in all sorts of personal drama, Tiger Woods would call Roger Federer before a big tennis match and offer support; in turn, Federer could be seen strolling down the fairways whenever he and Woods were in the same town together.

Maybe it’s a feeling that only another person living in the same fishbowl can appreciate their plight, but for whatever reason famous people can sometimes only be friends with other famous people. Regardless, it’s nice to see – and remember – that lifelong relationships can mean as much to them as they do to us.

Vaya con Dios, amigo!

Mark Tudino is an attorney with offices in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties, whose practice specializes in all areas of civil litigation. He has lived in South Florida for more than 20 years. Prior to attending law school, he was a political and sports reporter for television stations across the country. His career allowed him to cover everything from presidential elections to national championship sports teams, and he still maintains a passion to observe and discuss the world of sports.


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