A local favorite since his high-school days, Sean Elliott
raised his star to a whole new level this year, winning an NBA championship and doing so while secretly battling a life-threatening illness. His tiptoe-above-the-sideline three-pointer to help eliminate the Portland TrailBlazers in the Western Conference finals instantly became the stuff of basketball legend. A couple weeks later, after his Spurs won their first-ever NBA title, we found out Sean had an illness that was eating away at both of his kidneys. In mid-August he received a transplanted kidney from his brother, Noel, and is now vowing to return to the NBA. A true profile in courage, and a star for the ages.
READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: In another direction, long-time favorite Steve Kerr went from being an integral part of the Chicago Bulls' three-peating champions to a mostly bench-warmer for the Spurs. Kerr handled his demotion with style and grace, and performed well in limited duty. He also became one of only three or four people in NBA history to play on four consecutive championship teams. Kids want to grow up to be Michael Jordan, but parents hope they grow up to be Steve Kerr.