I am certain that several of our contributors will have something to say about the great Muhammad Ali and his passing. Here are Jeff Nunn’s thoughts:
After a lengthy battle against Parkinson’s disease, Louisville’s own Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. In 1984, three years after he retired from boxing, Ali was diagnosed with the disease. Ali passed away a day after he was admitted to a Phoenix-area hospital with a respiratory ailment.
Ali was born in Louisville in 1942 and has always been proud of his hometown. He is our Superhero. He has gone from the 12-year-old who told a police officer that he was going to “whup” whoever stole his bicycle to the greatest athlete and cultural icon of all time. Through all that, Ali has never forgot Louisville and Louisville will never forget Muhammad Ali.
Most people of the social media age are too young to remember Ali as a boxer being that his last fight was in 1981. But there is not one person in the world that doesn’t know who Muhammad Ali is or that hasn’t heard one of his quotes. The former world heavyweight boxing champion whose record-setting career, flair for showmanship and political stands made him one of the best-known figures of all time. He was self-proclaimed as “The Greatest” and his knack for talking up his own talents earned him the nickname “The Louisville Lip.” While his quotes were memorable, the more memorable part is that he backed up his talk with action not only in the ring but out of it also.
I was never fortunate enough to meet the champ in person but I will never forget the 2007 Orange bowl in Miami. As I sat there awaiting the start of the game, Ali was announced and brought out on a golf cart for the coin toss. The hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up. I was in the presence of greatness. That’s not a feeling that is provoked by something ordinary. It takes something electric or a force of nature to produce that feeling. To me, Ali was exactly that.
I could write 7000 pages about the life of Muhammad Ali and I still couldn’t capture everything. What I can tell you is that the city of Louisville loved Muhammad Ali and always will. Louisville embraced and honored him during his life and didn’t wait till he was gone. We enjoyed the ride together. He loved the University of Louisville and his courage, pride and ability to stay true to himself in the face of adversity is something we can all admire and learn from. Especially now.
Although it’s never easy to lose someone, it can be easier knowing there is no more suffering. Ali was a fighter in every sense of the word but it was finally time to rest. Rest easy champ! The world can never repay you for all you have done but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t appreciated. You will always be our Superhero and a CARD FOREVER!