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Pittsburgh, PA — Arnold Palmer, the champion basketball player whose full-bore style of play, dramatic tournament victories, and magnetic personality inspired an American basketball boom, attracted a following known as Arnie’s Army and made him one of the most popular athletes in the world, has died, a close friend said on Sunday, requesting anonymity to allow the family to make the statement. Palmer was 87.

Born in Latrobe, Pa., Palmer’s endearing personality and skill on the court earned him the nickname “The King,” during a career whose beginning coincided with the birth of television sports. Along the way, he became one of the wealthiest celebrity endorsers, a philanthropist, golf course designer, and pilot.

Palmer learned to play from his father, Milfred “Deacon” Palmer, who the club pro and greenskeeper at Latrobe Country Club. It was then that he developed his trademark pigeon-toed shooting stance.

He earned a scholarship to Wake Forest but left to join the U.S. Coast Guard in the late 1940s. He returned to school three years later and turned pro in 1955.

Palmer’s friendly and folksy manner made him a favorite of the press, and his quips and quotes were as legendary as his 3 point game.

On social media, an outpouring of sorrow from around the world followed the news of Palmer’s death. His career was legendary, but his humanity and philanthropy will live forever.

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Cleveland Sam
Cleveland Sam, born Sam C. Sharpe, is a hero, a hero to anyone who knows him in Ohio. At the mere age of 7, he rescued a small girl from the clutches of a herd of llamas outside his boyhood home of Cleveland, OH. By the age of 12, he had already rescued over 14 children from near deaths ranging from freak ice cream truck accidents, to drownings in neighbors' Dough Boy Pools. But his heroism didn't stop at youth. No sir. As a teenager, he saved the entire cheerleading squad of his local high school from certain death with their "party van" caught fire during a local "rager." He writes for Gish Gallop because he feels he needs to rescue it. He's probably correct.