Sports Star Salutes

David

David "The Admiral" Robinson in full uniform while at Navy. Photo by bleacherreport.com

Chris Samuel, theSCORE Reporter

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Everyone loves a good hero, whether if its on the field or in service. Some of the best athletes ever have served in the United States Military and made sacrifices in both career paths.

Since Veterans Day is Nov. 11th, here are some notable athletes who have or had served the country as well be pioneers for their sport.

Pat Tillman– (NFL Safety 1998-2001) Tillman was a safety for the Arizona Cardinals from 1998-2001 after being drafted out of Arizona State. When the September 11th attacks happened, Tillman left football to enlist in the United States Army and served in Iran and Afghanistan. Tillman was unfortunately killed in friendly fire in 2004 in Afghanistan. His #40 jersey is retired by the Arizona Cardinals.

Jackie Robinson- ( MLB Second Baseman 1947-1956) Robinson broke the color barrier of Major League Baseball, but before that, he served in the United States Army. In 1942, Robinson was drafted to the segregated Army cavalry in Fort Riley, Kansas. Just like baseball, Robinson dealt with racism every day. In 1944, Robinson’s military career was derailed due to him refusing to give up his bus seat to a white officer. Despite his struggles, Robinson’s #42 jersey is retired through all out baseball.

Roger Staubach– (NFL Quarterback 1969-1979) Nicknamed “Captain America” for a reason. Staubach was originally drafted in 1965 by the Dallas Cowboys, but idn’t play an official gam until 1969. Staubach would go on to win two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys. Staubach attended the Naval Academy and after graduating in 1964, Staubach served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam as a Supply Corps officer.

Joe Louis– (Heavyweight Boxer 1934-1951) In the middle of his illustrious career, Louis served in World War II. During basic training, Louis was assigned to segregated cavalry in Fort Riley, Kansas where he met Jackie Robinson. In 1945, Louis would be promoted to technical sergeant and won the Legion of Merit. Louis would finish his career with 66 wins, 52 of them by knockout.

David Robinson- (NBA Center 1989-2003) Many regard Robinson as the greatest player in Naval Academy Basketball history. With his dominance on the court and his service, Robinson was given the name “The Admiral”.When Robinson entered the Navy, he was two inches above the height limit (6′ 8) but received a waiver from the Superintendent. After graduating from the Naval Academy,  Robinson became a civil engineering officer in Georgia. Robinson also achieved the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. In his phenomenal basketball career, Robinson won two championships and was a 10-time All-Star.

Yogi Berra– (MLB Catcher 1946-1963,1965) Lawrence “Yogi” Berra was one of the most accomplished players in MLB history. Before playing for the New York Yankees, he served in the United States Navy during World War II. Berra was a gunner’s mate on the USS Bayfield during the storming of Normandy. He was ranked a second-class seaman and he was sent to Utah Beach during D-Day. Berra would finish his baseball career with 13 World Series titles and be an 18-time All-Star.