As I’m sure you know by now, Muhammad Ali, the silver-tongued legendary boxer, who proclaimed himself “The Greatest,” died Friday, June 3rd after being admitted to a Phoenix-area medical facility for respiratory complications. He was 74 years old. Ali battled Parkinson’s disease for 32 years, which had slowly robbed him of both his verbal artistry and physical aptitude. I could spend the whole article writing about the Louisville Lip, and what his legacy means, but I already did that over on HerDaily.com … Instead, I’ll let Ali speak for himself. Here is an except from his 2013 autobiography, The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life’s Journey:
“I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous, and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him, and who helped as many people as he could. As a man who stood up for his beliefs no matter what. As a man who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love. And if all that’s too much, then I guess I’d settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and a champion of his people. And I wouldn’t even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was.”
NBA: In the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors C R U S H E D the Cleveland Cavaliers, 100-77, in Game 2 in Oakland last night. The Warriors lead the series 2-0 heading to Cleveland for Game 3, Wednesday. Warriors’ Draymond Green scored 28 points and Cleveland lost star forward Kevin Love to “concussion protocol.” Here’s hoping LeBron and Co. can GET IT TOGETHER and take care of business at home. I’m not counting him out yet…but … #laststand
TENNIS: I bet Andy Murray is feeling a bit like the Cavs because no matter what he does, he can not beat Novak Djokovic at the Slams. World No. 1 Djokovic beat Murray in four sets at the French Open and became the first man in nearly a half-century to win four consecutive Grand Slam Tournaments. In his 12th appearance and fourth final, the Joker finally captured the one title that has eluded him. Next up: Wimbledon.
On the women’s side, World No. 1 Serena Williams was upset by Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, 7-5 6-4 in the women’s final on Saturday. Muguruza won her first career Grand Slam while denying Williams the opportunity of tying Steffi Graf’s record of 22 majors.
NHL: The Stanley Cup Final continues tonight in San Jose. The Pittsburgh Penguins lead the series 2-1. In a nutshell, the Penguins need to capitalize on their speed, and the Sharks need to take more shots! All the while, the beards keep growing…
MLB: Check here for weekend scores and highlights. In the meantime:
- Giant pitcher Madison Bumgarner REALLY wants to participate in the Home Run Derby at the All Star game. After watching the show he put on at battling practice Sunday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, I can see why. But it ain’t gonna happen…Giant manager Bruce Bochy doesn’t want ANYTHING happening to that arm…or legs…or hands..or … #riskybusiness
- The LA Dodgers cut ties with Carl Crawford and must eat the remaining $34.6 million left on the under-achieving outfielder’s contract. That is one expensive meal. #stomachache
- Those sneaky Dodgers…after being accused last week of using lasers to mark spots on the outfield for defensive purposes, they hoped to supply some sweet music to umpire Joe West’s ears on Sunday. West, the longtime umpire who has two country albums to his credit, was behind the plate for Sunday’s game between the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves. Dodger players used his songs as walk-up music for their first at-bats. Hilarious…and what’s even better? It was Chase Utley’s idea. #sneakiest
MMA: I had a ticket dropped in my lap last night to see the Zac Brown Band at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood. Didn’t know one song, but man, he was good. Twenty-four hours earlier, the Forum hosted UFC 199 where 37-year-old Michael “The Count” Bisping shocked the MMA world by knocking out defending champ Luke Rockhold in the first round. Even more exciting was the announcement that a welterweight rematch between UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will headline UFC 202 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Aug. 20. #BookItDano
Copa America: After losing their opening match, 2-0, to Columbia, the #USMST travels to Soldier Field in Chicago to take on Costa Rica on Tuesday. Check here for all results, matchups, and upcoming schedule.
In other soccer news, a federal district court in Chicago ruled in favor of the U.S. Soccer Federation, saying the women’s national team is subject to a contract that prevents players from striking. The previous agreement expired in 2012,but, according to U.S. Soccer, it was modified and extended to last from 2013 to 2016. The modification included a no-strike clause. U.S. Soccer brought a lawsuit against the players’ union after the union’s lawyer denied that there was a valid contract and the federation saw that as a threat to strike. Basically, now that they can’t strike, their bargaining chip is gone in their battle for equal pay.
I’m going to end with more Muhammad Ali. One of the things I remember most as a kid watching Ali was his wacky and unlikely friendship with sportscaster Howard Cosell. To this day, I don’t think I’ve seen another relationship like it in the world of sports and sports media. Take a look: