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Jun 05

True Legend-Sports Talk With Anthony Bonelli And More

This morning I was planning on writing a blog about the NBA Finals, but in the profession of journalism there are some stories that without question take precedence over others. Early this morning news came that heaven became a better place, if that Is possible. Cassius Clay, better known as Muhammad Ali has begun his second life at the age of 74.

I often write about how professional athletes can and should use the platform they are given as a vehicle to make the world a better place. Yes, Ali is considered perhaps the greatest boxer to ever step into a ring, but I bet if you ask him even today what he wants to be remembered for, just judging how people have talked about him over the years, I think he would want to be remembered as a 2005 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest award that can be given to a civilian during peacetime. Who would have thought that Ali’s 56-5 career record in the ring would be the second greatest achievement of his life.

Individuals are taught at a young age to stand up for what they believe in, as well as to not let anyone persuade them to change their beliefs. On April 28 1967, Ali did exactly that when he refused to be inducted into the Armed Forces and serve in the Vietnam War. Regardless of your opinion of his actions, and I am not stating mine when I write this, Ali did not believe in war, and nothing changed his mind even when he was forced to relinquish his Heavyweight Title because of these actions. Think about that for a minute, imagine that you had to relinquish something you worked so hard to obtain because of a choice that you made, I think this would force many people to change their mind and conform with society. We are always taught to be unique, to not change because of other people, and Ali certainly was unique and did not change who he was because of others.

People may not have liked his brash outgoing personality, but how can you not have respect for a man who did whatever he could to make the world a better place. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1984, Ali used the platform he was given to help raise money for people with Parkinson’s Disease, even though Ali’s speech was severely impaired because of the progression of Parkinson’s Disease, Ali’s presence at charity events without question helped raise awareness and money for the disease.

People define legacy in different ways, yes, some people might remember Ali because of his outstanding boxing career, while some will remember him because of the fact that he refused to be inducted into the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War, but as someone who was not born during his career, or the Vietnam War, what I will remember most about Ali is the fact that he was so well respected by so many people. That is how I define legacy, awards are great, but with time they collect dust, respect is something that always shines through even after a person begins their second life. Yes, in the coming days there will be tears of sadness shed by people all around the world, but to me that is why Mohammed Ali is a True Legend.

May you rest in peace Mr. Ali.