This is a goat. Before most of you start thinking, "Blair, you've lost your marbles." I don't want to talk about this kind of goat today. I want to talk about the 'Greatest Of All Time.' Get it? The GOAT.
Muhammad Ali passed away yesterday at the age of 74. In the 1960's and 1970's, Ali was arguably the most famous face in the world. The heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Ali will certainly go down as one of the most famous sporting heroes ever. Just sitting here writing this, I can't think of anyone who is as famous as Muhammad Ali. Pele, maybe. Don Bradman? I don't think so. (Sorry, Aussies.) Jack Nicklaus? Tiger Woods? Roger Federer? Aleksandr Karelin? (Greco-Roman wrestling aficionados will know who I'm talking about.) No, Muhammad Ali was and for a large number of people still is The Greatest. The Rock Dwayne Johnson only follows one person on Twitter and that is Muhammad Ali. When Beau Ryan on the NRL Footy Show asked The Rock if he would follow him on Twitter, Johnson said when you are the greatest, I will follow you.
I'm not a pugilist and I must admit that I don't watch boxing that often so I can't really comment if Muhammad Ali was the best technical boxer that there ever was but he won 56 fights and only lost 5 which suggests that he did know what he was doing.
Muhammad Ali fought for civil rights and he famously refused to conscripted in the US military and was arrested for draft evasion. That is I believe a sports hero using their fame for a good cause.
What Muhammad Ali was the best at was that he had the gift of the gab. He knew how to talk. He knew how to work the press. He was a master at that. Over the last day I have been looking at some videos on Youtube of Ali and I sit in awe and what he says and how he says it and I'm wondering if he actually sat down and thought these things up or was it all ad-libbed? I don't know. Probably a bit of both but how do I know. I'm purely guessing.
I posted on Facebook yesterday an interview with Muhammad Ali that I remember seeing on New Zealand television a few years ago. He spoke brilliantly. I thought that the interviewers Sir Bob Jones and Peter Montgomery did a great job in getting Ali to open up and I would say it is a classic interview in New Zealand television history.
My question today is though, would I be writing this blog post today, would Facebook have gone crazy yesterday with tributes, would Dwayne Johnson's only follow on Twitter be Muhammad Ali if he was introverted? Would his boxing ability have been enough to make him the greatest and the answer to that is and I think you know already is No. As I said, he had the gift of the gab. He got himself out there with different quotes and and tag lines and he developed himself into the man he became. If he was quiet and went about boxing in a cool manner with little hype, I'm sure he would have won many fights and become one of the best boxers in the world and in history but his charisma and his presence was the difference. He was The Greatest.
Muhammad Ali had impact, not just with the fist. He made sure that you remembered him. He made an impact. I remember a few years ago a friend of mine making fun of me for not making an impact at all. In fact a woman at my gym recently has come up and introduced herself to me three separate times. I was going to say something but it is my problem not her problem. I didn't make an impact. I probably said hi and left it at that. I wonder if I will get an introduction a fourth time, then I will really have something to worry about.
In 2016, you need to make that impact. I'm not saying you have to take up boxing but some times you have to come out of your shell. I must admit that when I write that it sends a shudder down my spine but I believe it has to be done. Use the memory of Muhammad Ali to spur you on to bigger and better things. To make that impact in the world. To make that difference that I know that both you and I can do. In other words, Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.