Chicago sports stars had time in the spotlight with David Letterman

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Patrick Kane visits David Letterman during an appearance on the Late Show in 2013.

NEW YORK – For night owls, he’s defined an era.

Starting in 1982 at NBC and then moving to CBS in 1993, David Letterman has been one of the standards of late night television with his wit, humor, unusual segments and traditional rankings from ten to one.

Yet the biggest part of his shows may remain his interviews with guests from all walks of life. Many of them have included figures in sports which Letterman is a big fan-even owning part of a team that races in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Through the years a number of Chicago personalities have graced the stage with Letterman to share their thoughts on sports, life or whatever may have been the topic of conversation.

On the day of his final broadcast, we take a look back at some of Letterman’s talks with Windy City sports stars:

Michael Jordan made an appearance on the Late Night with David Letterman on NBC a few times. The first was in 1986 when Jordan was in his early years with the Bulls.

A second appearance in 1989 came when Letterman’s NBC show made a rare stop in Chicago. Jordan appeared on that show once again.

The Chicago Bears have had a number of appearances with Letterman through the years. One of the most memorable came from the “Punky QB” Jim McMahon before the team’s appearance in Super Bowl XX in 1986.

Walter Payton got his moment with Letterman during a special season for the Chicago Bears legend. He appeared on the show in New York in 1984-the same year he broke the NFL’s rushing record.

Another famous Bears player and coach got his moment on Letterman early in 1988. That was “Da Coach” Mike Ditka.

Chicago athletes have more recently appeared on the Letterman show including one of the city’s brightest stars: Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. He traveled to New York to talk with the host in 2013 and he brought some hardware with him.

Of course there was one Chicago sports reference during the final weeks of Letterman’s late night career. All that one could say about this one is “Holy Cow.”


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