Saturday, June 4, 2016

In Memoriam, Muhammad Ali, 1942-2016

Photo by Andreas Meier, Reuters
That look...the same one that stopped boxers in their tracks.  It was always there.

Even as Parkinson's Disease robbed him of his body, the passion and fire that burned within never left.  One look at those eyes, and you knew that the boxer never stopped punching.

Muhammad Ali mercifully is done suffering the scourges of Parkinson's Disease.  He's now gone at 74.

We were the greater on this world because he was here.  While his opening act as one of the world's most famous people and athletes perhaps helped define two decades of sport, it was the last 30 years that truly proved the mettle of the champ.  Faced with a fight he could likely never win against Parkinson's, Ali kept fighting.  He kept showing up in the public eye, and he kept living.

Through his fight, money, and I mean millions of dollars of it, has been raised.  Research has been done.  Lives have been made better.  Ali continued to fight to raise money for Parkinson's research, and that helped my mother's life be better as she too suffered from the disease.

Larger than life for most of his adult life, Muhammad Ali went from people refusing to recognize his name change from Cassius Clay to a man the President of the United States mourned today in a moving tribute.

I can't eulogize Ali any more than anyone else or than those who truly knew him, but I want to thank the Champ for understanding that being famous comes with the ability to make a difference.

If you visit the Muhammad Ali Center on the banks of the Ohio River in Downtown Louisville, you'll find a very honest portrayal of Ali's life.  Your paradigms will be challenged.  You will learn something you didn't know.  One thing you'll quickly understand is that there was no one like Muhammad Ali.

My condolences to his family, friends, and fans and to the world.

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