cementing Clay in Ali (dedication)

Muhammad Ali has passed. His legend lives on.

It wasn't until fairly recently (as in the past 24 months) that I came to appreciate Ali for the entertainer that he was. His boxing skills were well-known, but that was a sideshow compared to his personality, which was larger-than-life. I got his jokes, his insights. I can totally relate to his self-cleansing. He was living proof that the ego must shine in order for success to follow. Believing in yourself, and sticking up for others.. these are the intangibles of a life well-lived.

After becoming world champion, he switched his identity; discarding his 'slave name'. A lot of people don't outright get that a person's name is arguably the biggest part of who they are. It's the very thing that you tell yourself everyday. As a big believer in the power and effect words have, I know that your name can singlehandedly shape your ethos. I must confess that I love the name 'Cassius Clay', but I also admire those that make adjustments to live a more fulfilling life. Doing so takes courage, and that's not something everyone has in abundance.

If I reflect on my journey, thus far, I can see that I've picked up a lot of traits from well-known individuals. Ali was one in particular. He had a big mouth, talked a lot of trash (does that remind you of anyone?, ..ahem!😇), and was always game. Competitive sports will do that to you. In Life, there can only be one winner. If everyone is equally talented and hardworking, then the only way to outclass your opponent is psychologically; win the mind game, and you've won half the battle. Ali knew this, but he also understood the power of words. He admitted that he believed that if he said he was 'The Greatest' loud and long enough, then eventually people would believe it, and we did.

The other part of identity is perception. Although appearances at times can be deceiving, the image one projects is rarely inflective. I've learned the hard way that you must show people exactly what you want them to know about you, or else they begin to fill in the blanks themselves. Ali showed us that he was a fighter. Boxing was his craft, but his mouth and humor were the tools he used to get the message across that the world is unfair. If you want it to work for you, then you better be ready to fight it. Words are powerful, but when action is necessary, talk is cheap. You are who you've always been. People see what they want to to see. Be you. Do right. Win.

Thank you, Brother.
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