Drew Sharp, a longtime sports columnist and writer for the Detroit Free Press died early Friday at his suburban Detroit home, the paper reported. He was 56.
Sharp was known for his sharp wit and often tough criticism for the teams he covered, particularly the Detroit Lions and the Detroit Pistons. Fans knew him by his print alter ego “The Great Boodini.”
Vickie Thomas, a reporter for Detroit radio station WWJ and a regional director for the National Association of Black Journalists, said sharp’s death came as a “complete shock” to her.
“What I admired most about Drew was his ability to cross different mediums,” she told EBONY.com. “Of course he had a popular column in the Detroit Free Press but he also did radio and television. And no matter how unpopular his views were on the various sports teams, Drew always stood his ground.”
Mitch Albom, Sharp’s longtime colleague and one of the best known sportswriting personalities in the country told the Free Press that news of his death was “heartbreaking knowing how much Drew was loved by his family and friends.”
Sharp had joined the Free Press in 1983 and had covered high school, college sports and pro sports. He became a full-time columnist with the paper in 1999. Eventually he became one of America’s leading voices in sports news commentary. But he was also known for his no nonsense opinions when it came to the subject.
“[Tom] Izzo learned he was wrong about the so-called ‘one-and-done’ stereotype,” Sharp wrote in his final column on the Michigan State Spartans head basketball coach. “The key is finding the right freshmen who approach that first year of college basketball with an open mind and melding that youthful effervescence with the standards already established over the past two decades.”
Sharp is survived by his wife Karen. A cause of death was not immediately determined.
A version of this story appears on JETMag.com.