Al Davis: Steinbrenner is "Right Up There With Me"

By Joe Kukura
|  Thursday, Jul 15, 2010  |  Updated 5:53 PM EDT
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George Steinbrenner was remembered by Raiders owner Al Davis.

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When the sports world mourned the loss of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner this week, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis mourned the loss in particular.

He even compared Steinbrenner to himself -- the highest form of flattery possible in the Al Davis universe.

Davis released a statement to the Oakland Tribune upon Steinbrenner's passing. Davis and Steinbrenner shared a common bond as two of the most successful -- and widely disliked -- owners in the modern era of their sport.

"He was a friend and a warrior," Davis said in the statement."We not only shared a birthday, but also an unyielding will to win and an unparalleled commitment to excellence."

Davis was born July 4, 1929. Steinbrenner was born July 4, 1930.

"I judge sports figures based on individual achievement, team achievement and contributions to the game,” Davis continued. “George was right up there with me at No. 1 — bright, aggressive and, most of all, not afraid."

Actually, Mr. Davis, you passed him years ago on the Most Hated Sports Figures list. You're still right up there, but Steinbrenner is no longer even in the top ten.

"When the Yankees were going through the lean times in the ’80s and after we beat the Redskins in the Super Bowl in Tampa, George and I would talk and I would pep him up," Davis said in his statement. "Later on, he did the same for me when Tampa beat us in the Super Bowl."

George Steinbrenner ceded day-to-day control of the Yankees to his son in 2006. Al Davis, you've noticed, is still quite involved with day-to-day operations of the Raiders.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who shares a birthday with Noam Chomsky and Terrell Owens, and is also constantly comparing himself to both. 

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