Forever the Greatest

404361_2646046864928_1182455756_n

The news that Muhammad Ali is on life support today is incredibly sad. His Parkinson’s disease has kept him out of the public eye for so long, but I always took comfort from knowing that the man who deserves to be called “The Greatest” was breathing, somewhere on this planet.

Seeing a larger than life Leroi Neiman painting of Ali at his center in Louisville, Kentucky a few years ago gave me chills. Learning his life story was an inspiration to me, too. And watching his fights against Joe Frazier inspired a piece I use as a writing sample, when the situation presents itself.

I know that he’s now 74 and this could be the final count of his career. If that’s the case, I’m glad to say that I remember seeing him fight against Leon Spinks when I was a kid. Not everyone is old enough to say that, either.

Hail to the Greatest

Ali

A visit to the Ali Center in Louisville, about a year before I started writing this blog, was a great travel experience. I was there with my family and some friends of ours on Spring Break, but it wasn’t the reason why we were in Louisville. The Louisville Slugger factory and Mammoth Cave were the real attractions, but so many other things came up on that trip as well. May every trip in the future be so filled with surprises and memories.

But on Muhammad Ali’s birthday, I wanted to share this great LeRoy Neiman rendering that hangs in the Ali Center. I knew of his greatness as a fighter, or at least I thought I did, but his standing as a civil rights figure and an anti-war voice were lost on me before I went. But I get it now. His outsize presence, both inside and outside the ring, are in direct contrast to the man who’s been battling Parkinson’s Disease for the past two decades.

Even though Ali hasn’t been inside a boxing ring in over 30 years, he hasn’t been–and won’t ever be–forgotten.