The biggest breakups in Arizona sports

Feb 14, 2011, 7:29 PM | Updated: Feb 15, 2011, 12:29 am

It’s Valentine’s Day and while many people will be out celebrating their relationship, not everyone thinks of this as a happy time. In fact, some use the day to remember love lost, and that, we all know, isn’t necessarily pleasant.

The Valley’s sports scene is not new to breakups. For instance, take Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns. This relationship was one that, while great at first, grew a little tiresome and stale. The two were together for so long that the little things like Barkley’s lack of conditioning and off-court antics, which were laughed off as “Charles being Charles” just became too much. Their parting ways was not very amicable but, as they say, time heals all wounds and they were able to reconnect as friends years later.

While the Barkley breakup is one of the more high profile ones, it certainly wasn’t alone in raising some eyebrows. Take the Diamondbacks, for example. When they parted ways with fan favorite Luis Gonzalez all the good times they had together, like the hit streak, the home run derby and the World Series were all forgotten as the baseball team decided they wanted to pursue younger options. So, Gonzo left, wanting to go somewhere where he could show the Diamondbacks what they were missing. He spent a couple of seasons on the market, but decided to let bygones be bygones and return to where he had his greatest success. Not only has the relationship become amicable but the romance was rekindled, with Gonzalez and the Diamondbacks spending a lot of time together.

Conversely, the D-backs’ breakup with Randy Johnson seems to be a bit more contentious. Randy said he wasn’t ready to move on, but ultimately decided the team did not appreciate him as much as he felt they should and left to play for one of the D-backs’ sworn enemies. While it appears Arizona was right to part ways, the two sides have not been able to get past the separation and have a relationship that could best be described as lukewarm, if even that.

On the football field, while not bitter, when the Cardinals parted ways with Jamir Miller, Larry Centers and Lomas Brown after the 1998 season there was a large contingent of people who felt Arizona gave up on a good thing far too soon. Looking back, those people were right. Miller and Brown went on to have productive years in Cleveland, while Centers had dalliances with the Redskins and Bills. The Cardinals thought they could do without those guys, but soon realized that things just weren’t the same without them.

Of course, there are other notable breakups. The Phoenix Coyotes and Wayne Gretzky. The Arizona State Sun Devils and Sam Keller. Robert Sarver and first round picks. The University of Arizona and coaches Kevin O’Neill and John Mackovic. Dennis Green and a postgame press conference after a loss to the Bears.

While not always of the explosive variety, our teams are certainly used to the pain that comes with ending a once-fruitful relationship. Now, if only a little more happiness preceded the breakup.

Penguin Air

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The biggest breakups in Arizona sports