Best Local Athlete

Sean Elliott

READERS' PICK: It's been a good 10 years since we stopped trying to explain to people that Sean Elliott lives, works and plays in another city, another time zone. Hell, it's Texas, so it's like another world! He keeps winning this category every year and we won't be surprised if he wins it a couple of years after he retires. Which, thankfully, will not be this year. What's left for him to do? His high-school gym is named for him; he was the key man in the UA's initial rise to national prominence; he won a world's championship while in college; he was college Player of the Year; he was a two-time NBA All-Star; and finally he helped lead his San Antonio Spurs to the NBA championship in 1999. So to top it all off, he has a kidney transplant and returns to the NBA! His Spurs were upset by the Suns in the 2000 NBA playoffs, but Sean is returning for at least one more year to help take the title back from the Lakers. In the meantime his popularity in Tucson is as high as ever. He runs basketball camps, sponsors dinners for the Boys & Girls Club, and puts in time for countless charities. In all seriousness, the man could be elected mayor of Tucson in a heartbeat, although we wouldn't expect him to aim that low. Hey Sean, that Kyl dolt will be ripe for the plucking in six years. Can we be your campaign managers?

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Steve Kerr. It's amazing that the two most beloved athletes in Tucson history were college teammates and are again teammates in the NBA. Steve Kerr was the classic underdog story--too short, too slow, too earthbound to play major college ball. But somehow, he did and he ended up making All-American. Then, he had to start all over again, battling the same old preconceived notions in the NBA. In a league where the average career lasts less than three years, Steve Kerr is about to begin Year No. 13! He, too, is an NBA champion, having won with the Chicago Bulls and with San Antonio. His tale of courage in the face of great personal loss and adversity is an inspiration to millions. Long may he spot up and drain the three!

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