This most recent effort from my favorite ESPN writer discusses the origin of the author's idolization of Larry Legend, and how Bird's race impacted that idolization. As a contributor to a blog that strives to talk about non-Texas sports, I immediately thought to share this piece, and ask the Dudes, which athlete did you first remember idolizing??
For me, it was Warren Moon... When I first stepped off the boat in 1987, I pretty much immediately began watching all the sports through my rabbit ears TV. And watching the Oilers when they played became, instantly, must see TV. As a Chinaman with no coordination, I harbored no visions that I could one day be Warren, but it never stopped me from wanting to pretend to be Warren when I played touch football with the other kids in the apartment complex. I would mimick his drop-back, his mannerism, his cadence, and it had nothing to do with the fact that Warren was Chinese. Mostly, because he wasn't Chinese.
Since then, other sports figures have captured my imagination: Hakeem the Dream, Craig Biggio, Shane Battier, and Yao Ming - just to name the most prominent ones that come to mind. But for a 10-12 year-old fresh off the boat, no one could ever surpass the grace of Mr. Moon.