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George Steinbrenner: 'global icon'

YES' Michael Kay just called George Steinbrenner a "global icon." I hope LeBron James, who said he wants to be a global icon, was listening.

As I pointed out in this tribute to Steinbrenner, he left Cleveland to pursue glory in New York.

James left Cleveland and declined to take on the challenge and opportunity of New York.

GMS would have loved the blanket coverage his death has received, from YES - which has been live since 1 p.m., doing a fine job despite its lack of a formal news operation - to SNY to ESPN to talk radio to newspaper websites to . . . well, everywhere.

YES has a two-hour special set for 6 p.m. tonight.

And his timing is classic Steinbrenner, filling the gaps on a slow news day and setting the stage for tributes at the All-Star Game tonight, when the Yankees' return home against the Rays Friday, and finally at Old Timers' Day Saturday.

But the tribute Steinbrenner would have appreciated most will come Wednesday morning, when he lands on every New York newspaper back page one last time.

Random statements that p.r. people have sent me:

WCBS radio's John Sterling: "There’s no question that the passing of George leaves a tremendous void for the Yankees and for baseball. He really changed things in the order of baseball after he bought the Yankees in 1973, and basically it’s turned out so great for baseball. His vision was to spend money to make money.

"I’ve heard one million George Steinbrenner stories of things he did for people that would bring a tear to your eye. So he was a combination. Was he a tough boss? Boy, you bet he was. But he also had the softest side to him. In my own way, I really loved him. He took care of so many people in so many ways. I’m really very sad today, but he did phenomenal things for the Yankees."

WCBS radio's Suzyn Waldman: "Anybody who knows what the Yankees were like before there was a George Steinbrenner certainly knows what he did on the field. He was a remarkable man. He had one thing in mind always and that was building a team and bringing championships to the city of New York.

"His legacy is going to be something that is so far reaching, and you’re going to read in the coming days about what he was like. I don’t think we’re ever going to see a person like this again."

Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports: "As much as people rightfully today will give George Steinbrenner tremendous accolades for the almost 40 years of New York Yankees success, I hope no one will overlook or forget the immense impact that he has had on the development of some of the most successful U.S. Winter and Summer Olympic teams in history.”

Yankees president Randy Levine: "Today we lost a great person, a great leader and a great American. There will never be anyone like George Steinbrenner. He was a winner."

YES' John Flaherty: "New York and sports lost a great figure this morning. There is nothing like putting on the pinstripes and playing for the Yankees, and that is a tribute to the way George Steinbrenner resurrected the franchise in the 1970s. He treated the Yankees players extremely well. He was always very generous. He gave you all the resources you needed to win. All he wanted to do was win and to bring world championships to the people of New York, and he was extremely successful in doing that. I will always treasure my time with the Yankees. My condolences go out to the Steinbrenner family."

YES' Ken Singleton: "George Steinbrenner was a legend, a once-in-a-lifetime figure. He had tremendous vision, and the sports landscape – not just the baseball landscape – will never be the same. He had an outsized personality. While I was playing with the Orioles, and later as a Yankees analyst, I witnessed first-hand the passion for winning he exhibited, and the way New Yorkers appreciated the resources he put into producing a championship team. We’ll never see another owner like him. I will always appreciate the opportunity Mr. Steinbrenner gave me to broadcast Yankee games. I will miss him dearly."

YES' Al Leiter: "You couldn’t ask for a better owner than George Steinbrenner. He always provided everything you needed to win a championship. His passion, intensity and his attention to detail were legendary, and he expected nothing but the best from you. No one outworked him, and no one wanted to win more than he. He had a unique aura, a unique presence about him. When he walked into a room, his presence was felt immediately. I thoroughly enjoyed my times with the Yankees. It was, and is, a sports franchise like no other. Mr. Steinbrenner will be terribly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Steinbrenner family."

Giants president John Mara: “The passing of George Steinbrenner leaves a significant void in the fabric of the sports world and New York City. The thoughts and prayers of our organization are with the Steinbrenner and Yankees families. George’s energy and his commitment and devotion to the Yankees were unmatched, and he was as generous and charitable a person as has ever been in sports. His was a unique, special and unforgettable presence.”

Giants chairman Steve Tisch: “George Steinbrenner was a dynamic personality in sports and in business. He was the ultimate competitor in both worlds. All of us in the business of sports want to win; that is the objective. George personified that ambition. He and his good works will be missed dearly. George and my father had a special relationship; they were both good businessmen, and George loved the Yankees and my father loved the Giants.”

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