May 11, 2006

On Meeting a Legend.: The Baltimore Sun's Rick Maese has a lifelong dream come true when he meets The Champ.

posted by rocketman to culture at 02:32 PM - 5 comments

Oh, man. That's heart-breaking. I've had the same hope (meeting Ali) but I've never persued it. After reading this, I don't think I will. I'll go watch "When We Were Kings" instead.

posted by grum@work at 03:04 PM on May 11

Great article. Birth, old age, sickness and death are the sufferings of life that every living organism and human being has to face. I met Ali once in the 90's and I have to say that he was shaking, but very much alive. And when I called him champ, he flashed a victorious smile and raised his hand. His will to live and to be a champion of the people and peace is awe inspiring. Coming face to face with our own mortality can be a wake up call to strive to be immortal. Ali's immortality is set not only because of his boxing prowess but also because of his undefeatable spirit and desire to help and inspire all people. Which is why he is out there I believe. I would hope to be so great that people would want to stand in line and shake my hand toward the end of my life. Realizing he is just a man inspires me to think and be all that I can. Death is only a breath away, which can be the impetus to inspire us to be a champion in life starting this very day.

posted by Sputnik at 05:00 PM on May 11

I was fortunate enough to meet The Greatest of All Time , Ali, almost ten years ago. Ali was a client of my employer and he graciously had set aside some time to meet some of the staff. I was too busy and unable to get into the official meeting site, however, while I was continuing my duties in the office I had a chance encounter with him in the lobby as he was leaving. He was walking with one of my employers and my employer turned to him and said" Hey champ, there goes a tough guy over there" and pointed in my direction. Ali, who obviously was suffering physically from Parkinsons sydnrome, looked up at me and I tell you it was the most nervous/excited feeling I had ever had in my life. Then he lifted his huge monstorous hands and clenched them into fists as big as my head. Shaking them at me, he mumbled something I couldn't quite make out, it was almost a whispher, and then sort of bobbed and weaved and eventually started pounding one fist into his other now open hand while glaring at me as though I was about to be knocked out. He continued to do this for only a few seconds but it seemed like a lifetime. I just stared at him, awestruck by both his size and by the fact that "The Champ" was here in front of me and actually shaking a fist at me. It was the coolest moment of fan/idol interaction I had ever experienced. Some of my friends always asked why I didn't ask for an autograph and honestly I thought what took place was so much more special than any piece of paper he could have signed. The fact that we shared a moment, however brief, was enough for me. I'll remember those five minutes for the rest of my life. Sorry a little of topic and so long.

posted by ampto11 at 05:09 PM on May 11

Sorry a little of topic and so long. No apologies necessary. That's a great story and I'm envious of your chance encounter.

posted by grum@work at 05:31 PM on May 11

Thanks grum@work. As a former resident of Louisville, KY, now living in So. Indiana, let me also say how wonderful it is that the city has finally done something right in recognizing Ali. He is and forever will be "The Greatest".

posted by ampto11 at 12:26 PM on May 12

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