They broke norms. They became our heroes on the field and the court. They inspired, made us cheer and, at times, made us cry.
Here is a look at some of the sports legends we lost in 2019.
Herman Boone, 84: Guided T.C. Williams High School to a Virginia state championship while navigating the early days of desegregation. Portrayed by Denzel Washington in “Remember The Titans.”
Pat Bowlen, 75; Pro Football Hall of Famer. Owner of three-time Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos
Junior Johnson, 88; NASCAR Hall of Fame driver. Won 50 races in NASCAR’s top division – the most of any driver without a championship.
Cliff Branch, 71; Wide receiver won three Super Bowls with the Oakland Raiders.
Willie Brown, 78; Hall of Fame defensive back for the Oakland Raiders.
Bill Buckner, 69; Notable career was overshadowed by his first base error that cost the Boston Red Sox Game 6 of the World Series. The Sox would go on to lose the series in seven games.
Boston Red Sox first baseman, Bill Buckner is shown in March 1986. (AP Photo)
King Kong Bundy, 63; Giant stature with wrestling ability made him a standout in the ring, even if he never won a title.
Nick Buoniconti, 78; linebacker on 1972 Miami Dolphins 17-0 team.
Ron Fairly, 81; Played 21 MLB seasons and later became a broadcaster.
Hayden Fry, 90; Football coach won 238 games and three Big Ten championships in 20 seasons at Iowa.
Pumpsie Green, 85; Became first black player for Boston Red Sox in 1959
Forrest Gregg, 85; Offensive lineman won five world titles for Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers.
Gabriele Grunewald, 32; Runner who boldly displayed her battle with cancer. She competed with a visible 13-inch scar across her abdomen.
Gabriele Grunewald runs in the women’s 1500 meters at the U.S. Track and Field Championships, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
John Havlicek, 79; Hall of Famer won eight NBA titles with Boston Celtics
Vaughan Johnson, 57: New Orleans Saints linebacker was part of the vaunted quartet known as the “Dome Patrol.”
Red Kelly, 91; Hall of Famer, Eight-time Stanley Cup champion
Ted Lindsay, 93; Hall of Famer, Four-time Stanley Cup champion
Niki Lauda, 70; Three-time Formula 1 racing champion
FILE – In this July 7, 2018, file photo, former Formula One World Champion Niki Lauda of Austria walks in the paddock before the third free practice at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England. Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, who won two of his titles after a horrific crash that left him with serious burns and went on to become a prominent figure in the aviation industry, has died. He was 70. The Austria Press Agency reported Lauda’s family saying in a statement he “passed away peacefully” on Monday, May 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)
Gino Marchetti, 93; Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end for Baltimore Colts
John McKissick. 93; Won 621 high school football games, the most for any coach at any level in the U.S.
Don Newcombe, 92; First-ever Cy Young award winner and 1956 MVP. First black pitcher to start a World Series game.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund, 76; Longtime announcer and interviewer for the World Wrestling Federation and WWE.
Frank Robinson, 83; Hall of Famer hit 586 home runs. First black manager in major leagues.
Bart Starr, 85; Quarterback of Green Bay Packers who won first two Super Bowls.
Tyler Skaggs, 27; Angels pitcher died of an accidental drug overdose. On the night his teammates honored Skaggs, all of them wore his No. 45 jersey. Angels pitchers combined for a no-hitter and Mike Trout hit a 454-foot home run.
Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, 55; Boxer won titles in four weight classes. 1984 Olympic gold medalist
Sources include The New York Times, ESPN and Associated Press.