Saturday, June 4, 2016

Passing of "The Greatest"

If you were born in the 50's and loved sports, there was no one, and I mean NO ONE, that was bigger the Muhammad Ali.

Everything that should be said, is being said today. 

One of my favorite memories of Muhammad Ali is sitting in a living room in Trenton, Illinois in the 1960s listening to an AM radio with my father to his fights. 

There have been and never will be a better interview than when Howard Cossell would sit down with Mohammad Ali.  You could feel the love and the tension on who would get the better of the conversation.

Below is from Jon Saraceno of USA Today Sports - who I know because our sons played baseball together for a number of years in Ashburn, wrote an article titled:

Boxing's odd couple: Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell

Jon writes:

Cosell: “Are you taking Zora Folley too lightly?”

Ali: “Why would you say that?”

Cosell: “Because every indication has been that you’re confident that you can beat Zora.”

Ali: “I’m confident I can whup ’em all. This ain’t nothin’ new. My image has been confident. What you tryin’ to make it look like something new for? I’m always confident. I’ll whup all of ’em.”

Jon continues with one of the classic exchanges seen on TV:

"America watched with great anticipation as the outsized personalities crossed verbal swords — but without enmity and, oftentimes, with humorous bluster.

Once, Ali peeled back Cosell’s famous toupee, pretending to peek at his scalp.

Or the champ would make a threatening gesture.

“Don’t touch me,” Cosell teased with a pseudo-glare. “I’ll beat your brains out.”"

Muhammad Ali was physically and mentally quicker than any other person on planet earth.  

I often wonder how things might be different if Muhammad Ali had not lost his ability to speak and think from Parkinsons disease.  Would we be having a vary different conversation on religion?

Are there ANY athletes that would have given up YEARS of their revenue at the PEAK of their physical abilities for what they believe in?  I cannot name a single one. 

For those of us who worshipped Mohammed Ali as a kid, today is a mixed day.  It is very sad to watch his passing, but when you watch these black and white highlight films of him at his absolute peak, how can it NOT put a smile on your face?

God bless The Greatest....