Best Sports Executive (2008)

USA Basketball's Jerry Colangelo

We've had our differences with Jerry Colangelo over the years. There were times when we felt the Valley public sector was bending over frontward to financially enable this sports entrepreneur/developer. But, Jerry, we've forgiven you, because you are indeed a pillar of not only our sports community but the world's. You proved your prowess as a sports executive beyond compare with your takeover of troubled USA Basketball. That the team returned to Gold Medal form says it all. In summer Olympics past, we've wondered why multimillionaire NBA players couldn't win the gold against less-accomplished international teams, and now you've proved that they can. Money players prevail, as the Good Lord intended! We guess it just took the right man at the top to make this happen again.

Your great moments in Phoenix sports are legendary. As the original general manager and, later, head honcho of the Phoenix Suns, you may not have won a championship, but you came close a couple of times. Without you, there would be no U.S. Airways Center. But your greatest accomplishment was bringing major-league baseball to us — and three years later, fielding a World Series champion Diamondbacks team in 2001. Beating the New York Yankees in the aftermath of September 11 was something special. Much of the nation was (finger down throat) praying for the Bronx Bombers to prevail as a "healing" measure for America, but the team you assembled (with pitchers Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in their primes) made sure that didn't happen. Boo-hoo for the red, white, and blue. We say bravo for sticking it to the rest of America in '01, and then helping the U.S. stick it to the rest of the world in '08.


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