This Day In Sports History; February 17
Nike dropped Pacquiao, Verbeek scored his 300th goal, the Basketball Hall of Fame opened, and two stars were born.
February 17th was a pretty jammed packed day in sports. In 2016, Professional boxer Manny Pacquiao was dropped from Nike for making derogatory comments about the LGBTQ community. In a video statement, he was quoted saying “If we approve male on male, female on female (marriage), then man is worse than animal.”
When Nike terminated his endorsement deal they put out a statement saying "Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community.” Pacquiao would later state that he respected Nikes decision to drop him but, he was still hard set against gay marriage.
In 1993 on this date, NHL All Star Pat Verbeek scored his 300th goal while playing for my Hartford Whalers in a 5-3 home loss to the Buffalo Sabres. In that same game he notched his 300th career assist. This isn’t a super significant event but, because he was a Whaler at the time I felt I should add it.
Another event that happened right in my back yard was the opening of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. Honestly, the Basketball Hall of Fame kind of stinks. I’ve heard that the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is a palace and while Canton, Ohio may not be a beautiful city, going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame was the greatest day of my childhood. I’m almost positive I became a man that day.
178 players from the NBA to WNBA are memorialized in Springfield, along with a small group of coaches and referees. I think that the only fun part of the Hall of Fame is getting to stand next to a Muggsy Bogues cut out and trying to dunk on an eight and a half foot hoop.
Two superstar players that changed their respected sports were also born on this date. Former Browns fullback and nine time All Pro Jim Brown was born on this date in 1936. He was the first legit running back that professional football ever witnessed and revolutionized the way a back plays.
The other superstar that was born today is five time NBA MVP, six time NBA Champion, and current Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan. He is the greatest basketball player to ever touch the court and has racked up just about every accolade an NBA player could.
I, like many others would probably agree that the 17th is a more astronomical day in sports than the 16th due to the GOAT being born. What a day.