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That time when Al Davis shook hands with Darth Vader

In social media circles, the day before Cinco de Mayo has become an unofficial holiday for Star Wars devotees: May the 4th Be With You.

Former Oakland Raiders CEO Amy Trask shared a quick story to honor the occasion, tweeting a photo of Darth Vader and late Raiders owner Al Davis:

If Davis wasn't the most colorful character in pro football history, he was certainly the most polarizing. For much of his highly successful tenure with the Raiders, he was the most reviled owner as well as the most respected football mind in the league.

When Davis first met other luminaries in sports, entertainment or politics, he was fond of asking, "What matters most to you: love, power, achievement, glory, or money?"

The answer is straight out of the dark side:

"It's power," Davis told Gary Smith in a 1981* Inside Sports* profile. "I don't mean ruthless power. I mean control of my destiny. (Love) is the least important of the five to me. ... I only want to be loved by certain people: my players, the people I live with, not by humanity. I push (love) away because I don't really need it."

The former Raiders owner and one-time AFL commissioner shared other similarities with the Machiavellian Vader.

Describing his offensive philosophy in Peter Richmond's Badasses, Davis explained, "When we came out of the huddle we weren't looking for first downs. We didn't want to move the chains; we wanted touchdowns. We wanted the big play, the quick strike. They say to quarterbacks, 'Take what they give you.' That always sounded good to everybody, but I always went the other way: we're going to take what we want."

Wayne Valley, original owner of the AFL's Raiders, summed up Davis' anti-hero style succinctly: "If I said Al Davis is lovable, I'd be a liar. But you don't have to love Al Davis. You just have to turn him loose."

Davis was famous for his mantras associated with the Silver and Black, highlighted by "Commitment to Excellence" and "Just Win, Baby!"

That brass tacks approach ultimately led to a showdown in which Davis sued the NFL for the right to move to Los Angeles in the early 1980s. As you might imagine, that lawsuit created a disturbance in the force:

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