By Samantha McKenzie
This man was a true gift to the world. He shook up the masses with his bravado and wisdom. Courage never looked so good! Love you like a real hero should be loved. Rest peacefully champ.
Muhammad Ali is gone from among us. His presence will of course be missed. His legacy however, I predict, will still beat like the heart of a champion.
My love for him grew out of the stories I was told growing up and those I read along the way. I remember every young man in my neighborhood at some point, would quote an Ali line when they squared off to have a playful fist fight.
“Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee…”
Everyone knew the famous Ali brand and everyone wanted to be like him.
I can recall the news clips of Ali talking boldly and so proudly of being black. When he said black was beautiful, we believed it. I admired how he spoke his mind without fear of consequences and how he stood up for what he believed. I liked his brand of cockiness, mostly because we had never seen a black man speak like that before.
But even past the boxing ring, the world came to love Ali for his big heart – a heart that extended beyond his life as an athlete. He was a man of faith, a devoted father and the fella we all wanted to be around.
He was the greatest of all time on so many levels.
I read a story where his boxing coach said when he met Ali, he had ordinary skills. There was nothing extraordinary about him at the time. He was young and hungry to learn. “But, there was nothing that could discourage him,” the coach recalled, “he just could not be discouraged.”
And that was the ingredient that made our champion. Showing up to practice with nothing but desire. Putting in the sweat and tears to learn a new skill. Pushing through tremendous pain to become the best at what he did. This is what made him great. He never let anyone or anything discourage him.
Let us use Ali’s example to live our own extraordinary lives. Let us not be discouraged.