Greatest Athlete in Connecticut History Tournament: Marlon Starling vs. John Williamson

(AP Photo/Staff/Pizac)

It’s summertime, and that means it’s time for another SportzEdge ® Bracket-style, 64-team tournament! Feel the excitement!!!

Last year, we changed the course of modern human civilization with the Coolest NCAA Logo Tournament, which became a national phenomenon along the lines of a presidential election, Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPY speech, or DeAndre Jordan changing his mind about where he wants to play basketball.

This year, we decided to take on a question scholars have been debating since the 1800’s, maybe.

Who is the greatest athlete in Connecticut history?

There are plenty of outstanding candidates, from Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, to four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rogers, to all-time great featherweight boxer Willie Pep.

The athletes we considered must have grown up in Connecticut, and we counted only their prowess on the playing field, so coaches, executives and contributors like Walter Camp were not considered.


7. Marlon Starling



The “Magic Man” was a two-time U.S. World champion boxer and former welterweight champion of the world. Starling won his first 25 bouts before losing the welterweight title to Donald Curry in 1982. The Hartford native would regain his title the following year, and would finish his career with a record of 45-6-1-1 with 27 knockouts.

(AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)
(AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

10. John Williamson

ABA/NBA: 1973-82

New Haven

“Super John” was an electrifying shooting guard who, alongside backcourt mate and Hall of Famer Julius Erving, helped lead the New York Nets to ABA titles in 1974 and 1976. Williamson averaged 20.1 points per game in his career, and his number 23 is one of five ever to be retired by the Nets franchise. In high school, Williamson led Wilbur Cross to state championships in 1967 and 1968, and led the entire nation in scoring at 38.4 points per game in 1970.

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