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Neiman's favorite color: Green

Painter LeRoy Neiman (L) and former New York

Painter LeRoy Neiman (L) and former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath (R) unveil and sign a limited edition serigraph, titled "Handoff - Super Bowl III," at the Neiman studio. (Jan. 18, 2007) (Credit: Getty Images)

It was tempting in his later years to view LeRoy Neiman as a relic of 20th century kitsch, but as any baby boomer will tell you, there was a time he was seen as a fresh, innovative chronicler of the athletic scene.

Neiman, who died Wednesday at 91, might be best recalled by sports fans for covering Olympic Games in the 1970s and '80s with his trademark, rapid-fire bursts of impressionistic color. But before that, he made a local mark as an artist-in-residence of sorts for the eventual Super Bowl champion Jets of 1968.

Neiman captured those Jets -- notably quarterback Joe Namath -- from the sidelines and even traveled with them. Some of his work still adorns the walls at the Jets' Florham Park, N.J., practice facility.

"I don't know any other team that had an artist on the sideline," the team's then-public relations director, Frank Ramos, told newyorkjets.com.

It was just one of many ways in which Neiman, and his work, were American originals.

Tags: Jets , LeRoy Neiman

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