ACC celebs Urlacher, Allen, Hoffman all entering respective Hall of Fames
Brian Urlacher smashes golf balls with about the same aggression he used to hit ball carriers.
Ray Allen’s swing is as butter smooth as his 3-point shot.
And Trevor Hoffman’s steely-eyed stare scares even golf balls.
All three are at the 29th annual American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course and all three will be enshrined into their respective Halls of Fame later this summer.
Hoffman just two weeks after the ACC will be in Cooperstown, New York July 29 for his enshrinement ceremony into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The very next week, Urlacher will be in Canton, Ohio Aug. 4 for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Allen will be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
It’s a big year for all three elite athletes.
“It’s a big year for me,” Hoffman said leading up to the tournament. “I’m looking forward to coming here and relaxing a bit before the Hall of Fame gets going, something that I really still can’t wrap my head around. It’s a great class and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
All three athletes are painstakingly going through every detail of their Hall of Fame speeches. It’s a chance to thank everyone who helped them earn entry to each sport’s sacred place.
Hoffman was waking up in the middle of the night with ideas. Urlacher is having a hard time because he doesn’t want to forget anyone.
“I want to give everyone their due,” Urlacher said. “It’s been hard trying to find time for each person, to pay them the respect that I owe them.”
Allen, with his long distance shooting prowess, was the Steph Curry of the NBA before the Warriors two-time MVP took the association by storm.
He was a 10-time all star, two-time champ and Olympic gold medalist and is the most prolific shooter in association history from beyond the arc. He is the career leader in 3-pointers made.
Urlacher came into the NFL and was dominant from the start, leading the Bears in tackles his first four seasons. He played his entire 13-year career for Chicago. He was first team All-Pro four times, was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2005 and reached the Super Bowl in 2006.
Hoffman was the first player in history to reach 500 and then 600 saves and was the all time saves leader from 2006 to 2011 before being passed by New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera. Hoffman, an 18-year veteran, was a seven-time all star and twice finished runner up for the Cy Young award. He retired with an MLB record of 15 20-save seasons, 14 30-save seasons (including eight consecutive), nine 40-save seasons and the highest career strikeout rate of any reliever.
For the trio, coming to Tahoe is a pre-ceremony of sorts for their Hall of Fame enshrinements.
The celebrity tournament is normally the highlight of the summer for most athletes, according to Urlacher. But for those three, the ceremonies for their career achievements following the ACC will be a highlight of their lives.
“It’s a blast being here in Tahoe,” Urlacher said. “It’s the highlight of our summer and most of these guys will probably tell you the same thing. It’s so fun. Competition golf with huge crowds, great golf course, it’s just fun. And great weather more importantly. It’s perfect. Everybody has been really congratulatory. A lot of these guys here are already in their respective Hall of Fames. It’s cool. I definitely didn’t plan on this when I started playing.”
“The excitement is building, but it’s a good excitement,” Hoffman said. “I know it’s going to be nerve-wracking, but at the same time it will be a great opportunity to honor and talk about those people that helped me get to that point.”
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Vinny Del Negro beat John Smoltz on Sunday in a playoff at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament.