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My Brush with Greatness


Sometime not too long after he retired from boxing,
I waited in a very short line to meet Mohammed Ali. 

He came to the university in our town (Murray State Univ) to give a speech. 
I think it was free.  Most people waited in the line to get an autograph. 

I just wanted to shake his hand.  He looked me over (I'm 6' 6") and said,
"You're a tall sucker aren't you?"  He still shook my hand and it was a pleasure to meet him.

This reminds me of a fun story from Barry Switzer's biography, Bootlegger's Boy.
They say The Champ is/was a great practical joker.

Years ago, when Ali was still young and lively, he was at some convention (whatever)
and Barry Switzer was there. I think they were in the food line together, so Barry intoduced
himself to Ali and he said, "Gosh Champ, in person you seem SO MUCH BIGGER."

Being a practical koker, Ali acted upset and got a scowl on his face and said, "Who you calling NIGGER?"

Of course, Barry was unprepared for this, and panic immediately set in.
"No, no, no, Champ, I never said that - not at all - I have the most respect..."

Ali burst out laughing and let quickly Barry off the hook.


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