"I was very fortunate to play sports. All the anger in me went out. I had to do what I had to do. If you stay angry all the time, then you really don’t have a good life." - Willie Mays

Let go of anger.

Apr. 23, 1954 - Hank Aaron hit the first of his 755 major league home runs

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In 1953 the Milwaukee Braves signed Hank Aaron to a major league contract and gave the slugger a Braves uniform with the number five. On April 13, Aaron made his major league debut and was hitless in five at-bats. On April 15, Aaron collected his first major league hit (a double) and inevitably hit his first major league home run on April 23. Over the next 122 games, Aaron batted .280 with thirteen homers before he suffered a fractured ankle on September 5. He then changed his number to 44, which would turn out to look like a “lucky number” for the slugger. Aaron would hit 44 home runs in four different seasons, and he hit his record-breaking 715th career home run off Dodgers pitcher Al Downing, who coincidentally also wore number 44.

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"You never want to go out with a loss but we have to use it as motivation." - Candace Parker

Learn from it and do better next time.

"Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability." - John Wooden

Wisdom from the Wizard of Westwood.

Apr. 20, 1986 - Air Jordan sets an NBA playoff record with 63 points in a game

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"I think," Larry Bird said after the game, “it’s just God disguised as Michael Jordan.”

Jordan was able to play in only 18 regular-season games in his second year in the NBA, after breaking a small bone in his foot in Chicago Bulls third game of the year. Although he was encouraged to sit out the end of the season in order to make sure he was fully healed for the next, he insisted on coming back late in the season and led the Bulls to the 1986 NBA Playoffs.

It was in Game 2 of Chicago’s first round matchup against the eventual NBA champion Boston Celtics that Jordan showed just how thoroughly he had recovered. In the hallowed halls of the Boston Garden, he set a playoff record by scoring an amazing 63 points against what many considered to be one of the greatest NBA teams ever. The Celtics won the game, 135-131 in double-overtime, and went on to sweep the Bulls, but Jordan’s playoff record still stands.

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"Don’t be afraid of failure. This is the way to succeed." - LeBron James

If at first you don’t succeed…

Apr. 19, 1991 - The Real Deal defeats Big George in 12 rounds for Heavyweight title

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The fight is perhaps best remembered for its memorable round 7. At the beginning of the round, Evander Holyfield was the aggressor, throwing several jabs as George Foreman stood back, seemingly waiting for an opportunity to land a powerful right hand. Seconds later, Holyfield missed with a left hook, which led to Foreman countering with a big right hook to Holyfield’s head. Foreman would then become the aggressor and continue his attack on Holyfield, landing several punches within the round’s first minute. As the second minute of the round began, Holyfield rebounded and proceeded to land a 15-second, multiple punch combination that staggered Foreman. Though Holyfield’s barrage of punches seemed to tire Foreman, he nevertheless was able to survive the remainder of the round without going down. This round was ultimately named “Round of the Year” by The Ring magazine.

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"Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication." - Mike Krzyzewski

Stay in the loop.

Apr. 18, 1995 - Joe Montana announced his retirement from the NFL

Joe Montana announced his retirement before a huge crowd at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco. The event was broadcast live on local television, and included speeches from John Madden, Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., and others. Highlights from Montana’s stay with the San Francisco 49ers and interviews with former 49ers teammates were also shown. Bill Walsh served as the MC for the event. Montana’s replacement with the Chiefs was his former backup in San Francisco, Steve Bono. Super Bowl XXX would be dedicated to Montana, who ended the pregame ceremonies with the ceremonial coin toss.

"Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead." - Jackie Robinson

Full house.

April 17, 1997 - Martin Brodeur becomes the second NHL goalie to score in a playoff game

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In the first game of a first-round playoff matchup against the Montreal CanadiansMartin Brodeur fired the puck the length of the ice and into the Canadiens’ empty net to ensure a 5–2 victory. It was only the second time in NHL history that a goaltender had scored in the playoffs, and the fifth time overall. The New Jersey Devils went on to win that series, but lost in the second round to the rival New York Rangers.

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"It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen." - Muhammad Ali

Build a deep conviction.

Apr. 15, 1991 - Magic Johnson sets NBA record for career assists with 9,898

Fellow Lakers guard Michael Cooper said, “There have been times when [Johnson] has thrown passes and I wasn’t sure where he was going. Then one of our guys catches the ball and scores, and I run back up the floor convinced that he must’ve thrown it through somebody.”

In 905 NBA games, Lakers' Magic Johnson tallied 17,707 points, 6,559 rebounds, and 10,141 assists, translating to career averages of 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.2 assists per game, the highest assists per game average in NBA history (second highest is John Stockton with a career average of 10.5 assists per game). Johnson shares the single-game playoff record for assists (24), holds the Finals record for assists in a game (21), and has the most playoff assists (2,346). He holds the All-Star Game single-game record for assists (22), and the All-Star Game record for career assists (127). Johnson introduced a fast-paced style of basketball called “Showtime”, described as a mix of “no-look passes off the fastbreak, pin-point alley-oops from halfcourt, spinning feeds and overhand bullets under the basket through triple teams.”

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