Muhammad Ali: A Personal Story About the Champion

Russell S. Baxter
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This is part of an amazing story. Thanks to my good friend Craig Mortali (hello Paula Martin Mortali), Chris Berman and I meant Muhammad Ali the week of Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta (January of 1994).

As Brittany Virgil mentioned, my father also suffered from Parkinson's disease. He was a loving man who lived for his family and children. He also had an almost daily craving for a half-gallon of Breyers' Butter Almond and Chocolate. Dad loved his ice cream and had his own special spoon.

When I arrived at the hotel in Atlanta, there was Ali eating a dish of ice cream, shaking in the process due to the early effects of the disease. When I got back to my hotel, I cried to my mother on the phone. The image was surreal.

BTW, Ali posed with me (and Chris) in separate pictures and insisted on the boxing stance. He signed an autograph to my father, who kept it until he died. When Craig asked the champ who I reminded him of, he said "Rocky Marciano."

He was being kind. I think he meant "Rocky Road" Marciano. God bless you, champ.


NFL 2018