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Looking back: This week in sports history December 3-9


December 3, 1956: Before he became an NBA legend, Wilt Chamberlain graced the court at Kansas University. On December 3, 1956, he played his first ever collegiate basketball game, against Northwestern. Chamberlain scored 52 points and tallied 31 rebounds in his debut. He played two seasons at Kansas, averaging 29.9 ppg and 18.3 rebounds.

December 3, 2005: The first ever ACC Championship game took place on December 3, 2005, a showdown between Florida State (ranked No 22) and Virginia Tech (ranked fifth) in Jacksonville, Florida. The Seminoles beat the Hokies 27-22.

December 4, 1961: Ernie Davis is a legend. On December 4, 1961, the former halfback was drafted as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1962 NFL Draft, the first black player to be drafted first overall. But Davis was diagnosed with a highly toxic form of Leukemia after he was drafted, and he passed away in 1963.

December 5, 1978: On this day, the Philadelphia Phillies made Pete Rose the highest paid athlete in baseball. Then a 37-year-old, Rose signed a four-year $3.2 million deal with the team, worth $800,000 a year, and helped Philadelphia win the 1980 World Series, its first.

December 5, 1992: On December 5, 1992, the SEC played its first ever championship game, also the first ever post-season conference championship in the NCAA. The undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide met the Florida Gators in Birmingham, winning 28-21. Alabama would then go on to win its 12th National Championship.

December 6, 1970: During Cleveland’s inaugural season in the NBA, it took the Cavaliers 16 games to record their first win, a road win against the Portland Trail Blazers in mid-November. It wasn’t until December 6, 1970 that the Cavs were able to win their first game in front of the home crowd, beating the Buffalo Braves 108-106. They finished the season with only 15 wins.

December 6, 1992: On December 6, 1992,  San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice caught his 101st touchdown, setting a new record for most career touchdowns, which was previously held by Steve Largent.

December 7, 1937: Ted Williams spent 19 seasons with the Boston Red Sox. On December 7, 1937, his Red Sox career began, as the team acquired the 19-year-old’s contract from the Padres, then in the Pacific Coast League.

December 7, 1939: Just months after retiring from Major League Baseball due to illness, Lou Gehrig was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame on December 7, 1939, at the age of 36. Before being forced out of the game, Gehrig played 17 seasons for the New York Yankees, winning six World Series titles and two MVP Awards.

December 8, 1988: On December 8, 1988, the New York Knicks set a new NBA record for three pointers, hitting 11 of 19 from beyond the arc. Johnny Newman, Mark Jackson and Trent Tucker each hit three triples in the 113-109 win over the Bucks at Madison Square Garden.

December 9, 1935: The first ever Heisman Trophy was awarded to Jay Berwanger, a senior at the University of Chicago. That first year, the Award was called the DAC Award after New York’s Downtown Athletic Club, but the name was changed a year later to honor John Heisman.

December 9, 2013: On December 9, 2013, the Chicago Bears honored legendary tight end Mike Ditka by retiring his #89 jersey. The number was retired during halftime of a Monday Night Football matchup between the Bears and the Dallas Cowboys. Ditka played for the Bears for six seasons, making 316 receptions for 4503 yards and 34 touchdowns.

 

Notable birthdays

December 4, 1956 Former NBA star Bernard King who played for the Knicks and Nets was born in Brooklyn, NY

December 4, 1963 Legendary gold medalist pole vaulter Sergey Bubka, was born in Luhansk, Ukraine

December 6, 1921 Former NFL quarterback Otto Graham was born in Waukegan, IL.

December 7, 1956 Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird was born in West Baden Springs, IN

December 7, 1967 Four-time World Series Champion Tino Martinez was born in Tampa, FL

December 7, 1973 Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens, widely known as T.O., was born in Alexander City, AL

December 8, 1981 LA Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was born in Decatur, AL

December 8, 1985 Charlotte Hornets PF/Center Dwight Howard was born in Atlanta, GA

December 8, 1986 British boxer Amir Khan was born in Bolton, United Kingdom

 

We bid farewell to…

December 5, 1951 Former Major League Baseball player at the beginning of the 1900s, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, died of a heart attack at the age of 64

December 6, 1955 Hall of Fame baseball player Honus Wagner died of illness and old age, he was 81 years old

December 6, 1996 Longtime NFL commissioner Alvin Pete Rozelle died of brain cancer, he was 70 years old