Belated Sports Post: Ali And Howe

Bare with me. This is an old post about the passing of Muhammad Ali and Gordie Howe I never got around to. So, forgive me if it sounds a little dated but it still deserves some time.

I never did quite discuss Ali's passing the way I wanted to. It was a subject that deserved a little bit of thought but it came at a time where I couldn't spare the time while Louisville, Kentucky; Floral, Saskatchewan and Detroit, Michigan mourned their sporting legends.

Best I could offer is an interview I heard with his long-time biographer who had been around Ali more than anyone. 


I can't possibly add more to what's been said about Ali already.
Nonetheless, allow me to offer a couple brief thoughts.

Ali is more complex than Howe because his persona extended beyond boxing laced with political overtones whereas Howe was your typical understated Canadian hockey player.

Ali obviously means many things to different people but let me stick to boxing as my comments aren't going to offer anything original on the socio-political front. I heard New York Times writer Dave Anderson on the radio the other day and expertly (and soberly) wading through Ali's life and times he agreed that Ali was perhaps 'over loved' possibly because he was an incredible self-promoter.

This larger than life image possibly obscured his actual boxing legacy. Though I'm no expert, based on what I've read by experts over the years, he isn't always considered the best ever. The overall *consensus* has him in the top 5 for sure.

Where there's much debate about Ali's placing among the greatest,  there isn't much doubt Howe is in the conversation as the greatest ever. He, along with Gretzky and Orr, each have their legion of supporters. You can easily make the claim he was the greatest hockey player more than Ali as the greatest boxer. And judging by those arms, he would have done okay in the ring looks like. Lord me.


There's no debating they helped change their respective sports forever.


Quick word about the Copa America that took place for the first time on U.S. soil. And not surprisingly, it went off without any violence. American sports culture is amazing that way.

It simply isn't the case in Europe with soccer.

I know this may and possibly will ruffle feathers with the inevitable 'it's a small percentage of people causing the trouble' (which is not exactly true. European violence is persistent and large enough to cause significant property damage, injuries and sometimes deaths along with the occasional postponement of matches), the fact is you don't even get that in North America as a whole.

The violence we see in South America and Europe is simply absent here.

1 comment:

  1. The thing about Ali is that he was BOTH an agile type athlete as well as a power type athlete.

    Usually, when it comes to physical qualities, one is either primarily physical/muscular strength or one is agile and has quick reflexes.
    Ali was one of those unusual kind who had BOTH muscular strength AND quick reflexes and smooth agility.


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