Ali vs. Freeman

He was young. He was pretty. He was pretty arrogant (or super confident). He was principled (loved, loved his position on Vietnam).

He announced to the world in no uncertain terms: “I am the greatest.

And then, life gave him opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to prove it to world and to himself

Last Friday, June 3, 2016, “The Greatest” went down for his last count. One family member said that even after all of his vital organs had shut down, his heart kept beating for another 30 minutes. Even death did not have an easy time “knocking out” The Greatest.

If this account is true, what a beautiful story ending to a life lived to its sprawling full width.

I’m not the greatest. I’m the double greatest. ~ Muhammad Ali

Yes, life granted him the good fortune to leave behind significant evidence that he was here.

Meanwhile, in another part of the world,  Bular Freeman came, lived a time, and died. That’s it; that’s all.

And as I stood at his grave, I couldn’t help but ponder:

  • Was he young, pretty, arrogant, and principled, too?
  • What were his hopes and dreams?
  • What brought him to the brink of despair?
  • What did he believe was worth dying or doing time for?
  • How did he die?
  • When he died, did anyone cry for him?
  • And who the heck scraped out his name and a year on his headstone?

But mostly, I wondered this: Why does one human being get chosen to live a life that stories are and will be written about, while another man’s life story is buried and likely forgotten –as if he never existed at all– beneath the spongy earth in a tiny graveyard hidden away at the very edge of a quiet, idyllic community in Georgia?

Call to action: How do you feel about your life, your story, and its impact?

Here’s another conversation you might enjoy: It Was Always Lucille.

4 thoughts on “Ali vs. Freeman”


    Life to me is a mystery! I strongly believe that the luck of the draw is what sets aside some people from others. The one redeeming factor to me is this: It does not matter who we are or how lucky we are, we will all on the same journey to death; because if there are one thousand people in the world, then one thousand people will eventually die. Therefore, it is not important to be remembered by the world, but to be remembered and loved by the love ones you left behind.

    • How beautifully written! And exactly! Sometimes, it is so hard to remember that world acclaim isn’t necessary to living a meaningful life. I hope that although Bular’s grave site is very humble he made a positive impact in someone’s life and at the end he was surrounded by love. And I hope the very same for us all!

    • Well, it is really just one question. But I think an instrumental one to inspiring each of us to take every opportunity to live meaningfully while we are here and/or to stay humble.


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