Author: Will Hughes

Old Yeller

December 19, 2007

The love-him/hate-him voice of ESPN’s college basketball coverage started two months after the network debuted.

Seen in: Jersey Living, Sports

Other states may try to claim him (Texas, Massachusetts), but “Big Tuna” was born in Englewood. Both his Super Bowl rings (for XXI and XXV) came from coaching a certain misnamed NFL team that played “power football” over in the Meadowlands.

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NFL coach Lombardi never suffered a losing season, leading the Green Bay Packers to five championships. He died in 1970; his final resting place: Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Middletown Township.

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The “Jackie Robinson of tennis,” Gibson was the first black woman on the world tour (1950). In 1975, the East Orange resident was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and was named New Jersey’s state athletics commissioner. Gibson died in 2003 at age 76.

Seen in: Best Of Jersey

In 1942, the 17-year-old Paterson native played second base for the Negro League’s Newark Eagles. The second African-American to play major-league baseball, he signed with the Cleveland Indians three months after the Brooklyn Dodgers inked Jackie Robinson.

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Professional basketball Hall of Famer, All American, Rhodes Scholar. Bradley nixed 75 scholarship offers to go to Princeton. The New York Knicks’ “Dollar Bill” represented the Garden State in the U.S. Senate and vied for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination, losing to Al Gore.

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“The Blaze” became one of the greatest scorers in women’s basketball history. Her career started at Cranford High School; she continues today as GM of the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

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Englewood’s Button was a five-time world figure skating champion (1948–1952) and has two Olympic gold medals. He won an Emmy in 1981 for his analysis of skating on television.

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Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto “The Scooter” settled in Hillside and Berra is a staple in Montclair.

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