That some title isn’t it? If you’re going to talk about the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali, you need to have a title that’s fitting. The Champ is definitely in my top five favorite people that I never got to meet of all time. I’m going to tell you why.
My dad came home from Vietnam in September 1970. At least that’s what I first saw him, because it turns out he had actually come back to the United States in July to have an operation on his shoulder. He showed up at the front door in September just as I was starting sixth grade. By December, we were packing everything up and moving from Kansas City, where I lived in a ghetto for the year he was gone, to Loring AFB in Limestone Maine, which was putting me in a drastically different environment that anything I had experienced before and anything I would experience after. Continue reading What Muhammad Ali Meant To Me And The Social Media Lessons We Can Learn From Him→
It was 1971, and I knew that Muhammad Ali was going to be fighting Joe Frazier. Ali was one of my idols; he’s still one of my idols. I was 11 years old, had just moved to a new place 3 months earlier and was struggling to get used to it, and one of my heroes was going to prove that he’d been wronged by so many people years earlier. I didn’t know as much about that, but I did know that Ali was my guy; he was my dad’s guy as well.
Back then I had a couple of transistor radios, and I listened to the play-by-play of the fight from New York City. What would happen is that you’d listen to a lot of talk, then after the round was over someone would tell you what happened and give you his opinion on who won the round. Early on it was all Ali, and I was ecstatic. Then things seemed to have changed, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Then I heard the news – Frazier knocks Ali down in the 15th and wins the decision.
I was bitter. A year later they put the fight on ABC and I thought Ali had won, I hated Frazier that much. But it was what it was, and I knew Ali would get him back.
However, there was this little matter of Frazier – Foreman, and as I saw that fith I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Foreman actually looked like he lifted Frazier off the ground; it was frightening. That day I felt sorry for Frazier, scared for Ali because I knew he’d be getting his shot against Foreman, and I was confused.
Then Ali and Frazier fought again, and it was a tough battle that saw Ali win. Then Ali goes and beats Foreman and it was time for the Thrilla in Manila. My support for Ali couldn’t be questioned; the “Gorilla”, as Ali had named Frazier, had to go down. I was lucky to have HBO in 1976 and we got to watch the fight live. What an epic battle, ranked as one of the top fights in history, and Ali won in 14 after Frazier’s corner refused to let him come out for the last round.
At the end of that fight I was elated for Ali but had a new appreciation for Joe Frazier. This man, who never weighed more than 208 pounds for any of his fights, had shown a lot of dignity, even in his 4 losses, two to Ali and two to Foreman. He wasn’t a bad man; not at all. Back then, there were all these social issues that always surrounded Ali, and Frazier got caught up in them. I saw him as a decent man, and couldn’t hate him anymore.
Over the years after he finally retired I saw a guy fighting to find some dignity because of the taunting that Ali had put him through. I learned of all the help Frazier gave Ali and how he always felt betrayed by Ali. He never could figure out that without Ali their fights might not have gotten as much interest and money as they did. I felt bad for that but I also recognized how hurtful it had to be for a black man to have another black man relate him to a gorilla; I wouldn’t have liked that either.
Joe Frazier passed away a couple of days ago of liver cancer. Like the dignified guy he always had been, word didn’t get out until he was in hospice, and he wasn’t there long. People said they’d give him their liver, but of course it doesn’t work that way. Just like that Frazier was gone at age 67. Muhammad Ali said this: “The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones.”
Joe Frazier earned a lot more respect in retirement than he did during his boxing career, and in retrospect that’s a shame. But that’s what the 70’s were like. And now we’re dealing with the 2010’s. And we’ve lost a good guy; best to you Joe.
You know, I really didn’t want to talk about this Tiger Woods thing because, overall, I don’t care who he’s been with or anything else. Yes, he’s let a lot of people down, especially with how he’d built himself up as this paragon of virtue and dedication only to his sport and his wife, and to see all of that come crashing down is depressing in some fashion.
But the truth is that he’s an athlete who owes none of us anything. He never had any moral authority like one of my childhood heroes Jesse Jackson, or a politician like Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina. Tiger Woods ends up being Muhammad Ali (another childhood hero) in a way; heck, that could end up paying off well for him in the end.
See, here’s the thing. Over the past two weeks, I’d been wondering why all these women were coming out saying they’d had sex with Tiger; let’s call it what it is, instead of saying he “slept” with women. Heck, I’ve slept with women in my lifetime and none of it involved sex; yeah, I’m pathetic, but trustworthy. 🙂 Anyway, it had been troubling me the first week. Then one of my friends on Facebook talked about it, so I came out saying I just don’t get what these skanks could get out of it; yeah, I called them skanks. She didn’t have an answer either. So I went and mentioned it on Twitter, and I got my answer; money!
Oh yeah, the mighty dollar. Most of these women got paid to tell their story. Some of them, it seems, had been paid before by Tiger; they got him co… no, I’m not going to say that, as that jokes way too easy. Let’s just say they’re getting paid twice for having sex with him, well, once, twice, twenty times… who knows?
Most of them are getting paid. Some are getting paid really well. Some say they’re not getting paid, but then why the heck would they come out and say this stuff? That’s really the main question at this point; if they’re not getting money, what’s in it for them to come out and admit that their tramps, skanks, and sluts (as opposed to ho’s, because ho’s readily admit they get paid)?
Tiger gets his share of the blame here, but, as I said, this really isn’t a story about him as much as it’s a story about being bad. Let’s take a quick look at our short list of sex scandals, shall we?
Kobe Bryant was accused of rape, got out of it by paying off the person accusing him, and is now not only the best basketball player in the NBA, but has endorsement deals paying him more than he was getting paid beforehand. Why? Because just being accused of that heinous act gave him what’s known as street cred (credibility, for those in other countries who might not be up on the lingo), and suddenly it was cool for guys in the ‘hood to wear his gear.
Ashley Dupre, the young prostitute that brought down the governor of New York Eliot Spitzer, is now writing a column for the New York Post. Of all things, she’s giving sex and relationship advice. Of course, I’m sure she sees this as a major fall in cash, since she was making about $5,000 a pop as a prostitute (man, I can’t help myself; the puns are there), but at least she now has a steady job, even if she’s prostituting herself in a much different way (it is the Post after all).
Jerry Springer was mayor of Cincinnati when he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. That wasn’t the worst of it, though; he actually wrote her a check! Now Jerry Springer makes around $20 million a year at least, writes a column for some newspaper, has had a couple of legit TV gigs here and there, and, well, he hasn’t gone too far from the sex now has he?
Mark Fuhrman, the detective in the O.J. Simpson case who was quoted saying all those racial epithets on tape and pretty much sealed the case in O.J.’s favor has made quite a nice living as a fiction writer. A couple of his books have gone to number one on the best seller’s list; he wasn’t making that much on a cop’s salary, that’s for sure.
Who really knew who Paris Hilton (she’s “hot”; lol) was until a video of her popped up showing that she had some skills doing, uhhh… well, you know what she was doing. She was someone else who was already rich, though it was daddy’s money, but she turned that one indiscretion into her own multi-million money making venture which includes fashion, perfumes, TV, modeling, movies and music; okay, she’s not making millions off the albums, although she did have one song to to number one on the dance chart. But the thing is that this is millions she’s making on her own, to the tune of almost $35 million a year, thus she hasn’t had to touch her trust fund, which is estimated to be in the 9 figures somewhere.
And we have Kim Kardashian, who turned her little home video into an empire that has made her a very rich woman. I mean, TV, modeling, fashion, and almost anything else you can think of, and that backside… let’s not go there except to say she replaced Jennifer Lopez in that area and leave it at that.
See, notoriety didn’t hurt any of these people. None of them, other than Kobe Bryant, were even in the consciousness of most of us until we heard about these indiscretions, and look where they are now. Heck, even Eliot Spitzer is now writing a column for Slate Magazine, a mag I’ve never heard of until he signed up with them, and now he appears on TV shows talking politics all the time, probably making more money than he ever was going to make as governor; not that he wasn’t already rich, by the way.
I guess this really is the way of the world, as even the prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, is dealing with his own sex issue, as well as a corruption scandal. But he’s 71; he might not have enough time to capitalize on his bad fortune, though he really doesn’t need to. After all, not only is he rich, but he got rich through sex, in a way, so he already knew the game before he decided to get into politics.
Man, why do I have my own sense or morals? Maybe I could be rich by now, flying all over the world having all sorts of fun because people want to know what I’m doing because of my indiscretion. Could I deal with a week or so of bad publicity to turn it around and make millions later on? Is there such a thing as bad publicity? Do we really think this little bit of negative publicity Tiger Woods is going through right now is going to make him less of a golfer, and thus earn him even more money later on? And, if his wife leaves him, he’ll be free to party like it’s 1999; hey, we can still sing that song, right?
By the way, today it was announced the Accenture had dropped him as one of their spokesmen, saying he doesn’t represent their values. How many of you remember how Accenture came to be anyway; talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
After Sire’s big blog post last week that generated himself a ton of new publicity, maybe he can tell us how to do it honestly, although I’m betting these other folks had way more fun in how they generated theirs.
Talking about publicity; y’all know I just can’t stay away from Muppet videos, and this one has been all over the internet, it’s great, and now it’s on my blog; enjoy Bohemian Rhapsody.