POV | In appreciation of Lonnie Ali
People have talked about Ali's greatness, but nobody has really mentioned Lonnie.
Obviously, the talk all week has been about Muhammad Ali. I had a chance to meet my boyhood hero several years ago. With me, I had two boxing gloves. This wasn't an official autograph event, but I hoped he would sign one for my son and one for me. When I got my chance to talk to him, I mentioned my dad and I went to the first pay-per-view fight with Joe Frasier. I told him it is still the greatest fight I ever saw. He smiled and took the first glove, slowly and carefully signing his name on it. Then his wife Lonnie came over and said, "OK, Muhammad. That's enough. We have to go." He nodded to her, winked at me, and reached out for the other glove to sign.
I always appreciated that kindness, but as someone who greatly respected him, I also appreciated Lonnie. People have talked about Ali's greatness, but nobody has really mentioned Lonnie. She was his constant companion, his attentive caregiver and his spokesperson. For 30 years, she walked quietly in his giant shadow, almost invisible, but always there protecting him. I'm sure her life has been rewarding, but it couldn't have been easy.
There is an expression that probably isn't politically correct anymore. "Behind every great man is a great woman." This was absolutely the case with the Alis. They were an outstanding team.
I’m Bill Lamb…and that’s my Point of View.
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