Giants Legend Michael Strahan’s Big Honor Breaks New Ground for All Athletes
Michael Strahan has been conquering everything he touches for 30 years, starting with his football career and continuing into a wide-ranging television career. And just when you think the former New York Giants great has earned every possible recognition, a new honor comes his way.
In fact, Strahan just learned that he has scored an impressive first in Hollywood.
Michael Strahan is getting his Hollywood Walk of Fame star
The Hollywood Walk of Fame stopped being an exclusive club a couple of thousand inductees ago, but that doesn’t mean it is no longer a big deal in the entertainment industry. The terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks of the Hollywood and Vine district pay tribute to memorable film figures, musicians, and other entertainers, and a visit there is on the to-do list for millions of visitors annually.
Planning began in the mid-1950s, and the ceremonial groundbreaking took place in 1960, with Burt Lancaster and Joanne Woodward among the handful of actors and other figures honored with prototypes. The first permanent star put into place honored director Stanley Kramer on March 28, 1960, according to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
With Hollywood synonymous with motion pictures and Los Angeles enjoying a reputation as a hot spot in music, it is understandable that nearly all of the 2,700 stars are devoted to people associated with the arts. Very few people with athletic connections make it onto the Walk of Fame, and most of them (Chuck Connors and Esther Williams, for instance) became better known for their Hollywood careers.
Now, however, a new category of nominees for “Sports Entertainers” is in place. Strahan earned the first nomination and will also be the first inductee. Given his success in daytime talk television and game shows, plus his role on Fox Sports, Strahan is a natural for the honor.
Strahan’s longtime Fox Sports partner is also part of the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Landing a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is merely the latest honor for Strahan. The Associated Press tabbed him as the NFL’s top defensive player in 2001, the Pro Football Hall of Fame picked him for its All-2000s team, and the 141.5 sacks in 15 seasons earned Strahan enshrinement into the Hall of Fame in Canton in 2014.
Strahan went into broadcasting immediately after retiring from the Giants, and he spends his Sundays in the fall as part of the Fox Sports studio crew with Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, and Jimmy Johnson. All four of them own the gold jackets symbolic of being Hall of Fame inductees.
Of the four, it’s now Bradshaw and Strahan who share the additional honor of places on the Walk of Fame for successfully transitioning from sports to entertainment careers.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Bradshaw became the first NFL player honored with a place on the Walk of Fame. The quarterback on four Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl champions preceded Strahan in making the direct leap to TV football work after retiring. He has also dabbled in television sitcoms and Hollywood movies like Cannonball Run to expand his recognition beyond football.
Magic Johnson and Muhammad Ali are also there
Adding the Sports Entertainers category opens new possibilities for Hollywood Walk of Fame honorees. As noted, stars like Strahan and Bradshaw gave gone on to long and successful second careers after reaching the top of their sport.
Others probably qualify for the same reason and could eventually receive their star. In addition, there is already precedent for recognizing sports greats who did not score success in Hollywood but did make an impact in the entertainment field.
Magic Johnson has his Walk of Fame star largely on the strength of helping make pro basketball relevant on TV. After years of undersized network deals and having its playoff games shown on tape delay, the NBA enjoyed unprecedented popularity as audiences embraced Johnson vs. Larry Bird.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Ali brought a movie star’s good looks and appeal to boxing. His televised fights and closed-circuit bouts shown in theaters were big events not only for the 15 rounds of action but for Ali’s showmanship and promotional flair (credit Howard Cosell with the assist) ahead of time.
Strahan will be in good company having his star alongside theirs.