Sports Birthdays for July 7 — Michele Kwan and More
Here are some of the people in the sports world celebrating birthdays on July 7:
Profession: Retired NBA Player
Best Known For: One of the most dominant college basketball players of all-time and a four-time NBA All-Star, center Ralph Sampson played at the University of Virginia from 1980 to 1983. The 7'4" Sampson was named the Naismith College Player of the Year three consecutive times (1981-1983). After being drafted No. 1 overall by the Houston Rockets in the 1983 NBA Draft, Sampson was named the 1984 NBA Rookie of the Year. He was the NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1985 and averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game from 1984 through 1986. Sampson's twisting, buzzer-beating shot eliminated the defending-champion Los Angles Lakers from the playoffs in 1986 and sent the Rockets to the NBA Finals. Injuries slowed Sampson in later years, as he played with Golden State, Sacramento and Washington from 1987 to 1991.
Profession: Retired MLB Player
Best Known For: A four-time All-Star, Chuck Knoblauch was one of the best second-basemen in baseball during his career with the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals from 1991 to 2002. Named American League Rookie of the Year in 1991, Knoblauch helped lead the Twins to a World Series win over the Braves that October. After being traded to the Yankees in 1997, Knoblauch was a member of New York teams that won three consecutive World Series titles (1998-2000). While in New York, he began suffering from a condition that caused him to consistently make errant throws when fielding balls at second base. In 2007, Major League Baseball's Mitchell Report alleged that Knoblauch used performance-enhancing drugs.
Profession: Retired NHL Player
Best Known For: A 13-time All-Star, Joe Sakic was one of the best hockey players in the NHL during his playing career with the Quebec Nordiques /Colorado Avalanche franchise from 1988 to 2009. Sakic was named captain of the team in 1992 and helped the franchise win the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001. He won the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player in 2001 and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs in 1996. Sakic led Team Canada to the gold medal in ice hockey at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and was voted as the tournament's most valuable player. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.
Profession: Retired WNBA Player
Best Known For: One of the best women's basketball players of all-time, American Lisa Leslie was a four-time Olympic gold medal winner and a three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player while with the Los Angeles Sparks from 1997 to 2009. A seven-time All-Star, Leslie was a key member of two WNBA championship teams in Los Angeles. Leslie was the first player to dunk in a WNBA game. She retired at the end of the 2009 season holding WNBA career records in both points and rebounds.
Profession: Retired Olympic Figure Skater
Best Known For: The most decorated skater in U.S. figure skating history, Michelle Kwan won two Olympic medals (1998 and 2002), five world championships (1996, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2003) and nine U.S. championships (1996, 1998–2005) . She was elected to the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2012.