Sunday, July 19, 2009
The Champ Ali and I..
Greetings..before I get started on the MySpace bands music side of things, I'd like to share a few great memories of days gone bye of rubbing elbows with the Icons of our age
in Sports, Music, and Entertainment. This is # 1 in this series.
Many years ago I was working for the Donald Trump Organization in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and driving a limo on the side. I received a call on a Sunday night from my friends at the Sands Hotel and Casino transportation department stating they were concerned about the weather report for Monday. The report was for rain and fog early in the day and if that happened then not one single helicopter could fly from Bader field, a small airport in Atlantic City. So they let me know that if it rains, then Monday morning at 6 am I would be driving Mohammad Ali and his wife and personal photographer to the United Nations. Ali was to speak to the United Nations assembly on a subject dear to his heart, a charity called “ World Share ”. Mohammad was in town at the Sands Hotel and Casino, and he was a guest of Dick Cavett who had a weekend TV program filmed entirely in the showroom there at the Hotel.
That Sunday night after the phone call, I abandoned my fortune to fate and I PRAYED for rain and fog, not just any rain or fog mind you, I asked for forty days and forty nights of relentless weather, a stormy Nor'easter from HELL! Well low and behold, it started raining right away. THE RAIN GODS HEARD MY PRAYER! IT RAINED BIG-TIME! It was a downpour of cats and dogs on such an epic scale, that to this day I smile when I think about it. Yeah man it RAINED ! Any Irishman worth his salt, would have felt right at home that day in Atlantic City.
Monday morning I answered the call to go pick him up at the Sands..On my way out the door that day I had my wallet, keys, raincoat, umbrella and a small Kodak point and shoot camera just in case I could get my photo taken with the Champ!
It took us about three hours to make it to the United Nations, due to the weather and what happened next is one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed in my entire life. I parked the limo in front of the United Nations, I jumped out to open his back door and the minute I opened his door, Ali stepped out into the pouring rain, I held an umbrella over his head..and BOOM!!!!!!People immediately appeared around the limo, it was extraordinary, there was this huge applause from the streets! all
traffic had now come to a stand still!!..buses stopped! trucks, cars, taxis, people walking down the street..EVERYONE came over to greet him in the POURING rain. I remember one bus driver had opened the doors on his city bus and all the people ran off the bus to see Ali. There were people from every single walk of life crushed around him, they were laughing, yelling, calling out to him..ALI! ALI! ALI!, in the POURING rain! I remember thinking that at one point there must have been one hundred people trying to touch him and talk to him. This was very heady stuff, and I was right next to him the entire time. This was a life moment I will never forget ..it was his moment, our moment, all of us, we were all part of something bigger then ourselves. I was standing with the Champ in the POURING rain! My God! I Was!!
I pinched myself several times, just to make sure.
After his visit to the United Nations I drove Ali to JFK International Airport for his flight back to Los Angeles..I spent about 7 hours with him that day, he would ask me questions about my boxing skills and poke fun at me ..and wanted to know if I was as “Bad As Him” so we talked of sports, the world events at the time and he kept asking me “ When are we going to get there Harry” ? are we there yet? He had the entire limo cracking up! Ali was the most kind, and loving person, with a very big heart!
I parked the limo at JFK and requested a photo with him.. Ali agreed and posed me for his photographer, he knew exactly what to do for the camera..His photographer took the shot with my Kodak point and shoot camera CLICK! One photograph..they were running late, no time for another. Mohammad asked his photographer to tip me for my services, as he had no cash on him, Then the Champ gave me a hug....thanked me and ran to catch his flight . This was a day of total MAGIC!.. that special feeling that embraces landscape and history and our personal associations, of where you were at the time, but somehow goes beyond the sum of them. Lucky me...
" THE GREATEST "
56 WINS 5 Lost
3 / Three time Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of The World
' The Most Dangerous Man On Earth '