Illustration by Abigail LeForge.

This week in sports

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April 25, 1976 – Former San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan is born in Christiansted, United States Virgin Islands. Widely considered to be the greatest power forward of all time, he is a five-time NBA champion, two-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA Finals MVP and an NBA All-Star Game MVP. He is also a 15-time NBA All-Star and the only player to be selected to both the All-NBA and All-Defensive teams for 13 consecutive seasons. He is undoubtedly the highest decorated Spur of all time. Duncan started out as a swimmer, and only began playing basketball in ninth grade after Hurricane Hugo destroyed the only Olympic-sized pool in his hometown of Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

April 27, 1947 – Babe Ruth Day is declared a national holiday by then baseball commissioner Albert “Happy” Chandler Sr. The commissioner was aware of Ruth’s rapidly deteriorating health, and designated Babe Ruth Day at Yankee Stadium. Ruth would address the Yankee faithful, 27 years after first slipping on the pinstripes. Baseball fans around the world still celebrate the day designated for the Great Bambino.

April 28, 1967 – Boxing world champion Muhammad Ali refuses to be inducted into the U.S. Army and is immediately stripped of his heavyweight title. Ali, a Muslim, cited religious reasons for his decision to forgo military service.

“I have the world heavyweight title, not because it was ‘given’ to me, not because of my race or religion, but because I won it in the ring through my boxing ability,” Ali said in a press statement. “Those who want to ‘take’ it and hold a series of auction-type bouts not only do me a disservice, but actually disgrace themselves. I am certain that the sports fans and fair-minded people throughout America would never accept such a ‘title-holder’.”

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