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Muhammad Ali: Not Just The Greatest But The ONLY!!!
What do you say about a man concerning whom everything has been said? What do you give to a man who has had everything? To both questions, the answer is simply ‘nothing’.
Yet how can you not but lend your voice to the symphonic, universal chorus of praises and acclaim for the greatest sportsman and arguably the foremost human being of all time, no matter how surplus or superfluous it might be? How can you not join in hailing a man infinitely larger than life itself?
I watched starry-eyed as Muhammad Ali received the National Constitution
Center’s Liberty Medal for 2012. He shuffled to his seat, got planted with the tenderest kiss by daughter Laila, regarded the medal hanging down his neck with unsteady hands and wooden gaze, all of which suffocated me with sadness and joy.
To see those once razor-sharp fists that delivered rapier-like jabs now quivering; those quicksilver feet that turned savage pugilism into grand ballet now doing an unwanted version of the Ali shuffle; that prettiest and most expressive of faces now trapped in frigid mode; that glib, slick Louisville lip that held us in awe with quirky poetry now so still that wife Lonnie had to deliver his acceptance speech; was all too much for me to bear.
Yet just to know that he is still here, that he yet dwells among us, that I can count myself privileged to be existing in the same timeline as he and be inspired by his words and deeds bring sweet joy inside my bitter tears. To have experienced his legend fills me with deep gratitude not just to God but to the man himself and gives me stuff about which I can brag in any afterlife.
Thank you for being, Muhammad Ali. You will always be the Champ, the Prettiest and the Greatest of all time, as if my puny, choking voice was needed to affirm that eternal fact.