While “The Greatest” may be gone, he has most definitely not been forgotten. The tributes to Muhammad Ali since his passing continue across the globe but especially in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The Louisville Bats, the city’s minor league baseball team recently announced a tribute planned for June. On June 3, the one year anniversary of Ali’s death, the Cincinnati Reds’ Triple-a affiliate will on honor Ali by hosting Muhammad Ali Appreciation Night at Louisville Slugger Field. The Bats’ players will wear specially designed Ali-themed jerseys. The stunning jerseys have an Ali head-shot across the entire front with ALI written on one sleeve and The Greatest written on the other. A butterfly image with ALI printed in the center is on the back of the jersey above the player’s number. The June 3rd special event will be the first of six weekends of community events focusing on spreading Muhammad Ali’s six core principals (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Respect, Giving, and Spirituality) according to Louisville Bats Senior Vice President Greg Galiette. Following the June 3rd game, the Ali tribute jerseys will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Muhammad Ali Center. The first two thousand fans in attendance will receive a free Bats logo cap commemorating Muhammad Ali. The jerseys are a thing of beauty truly befitting of the self-proclaimed “greatest, prettiest heavyweight champ of all-times.”
To this point I have not chosen any active or even recently retired athletes in my all-times sports greats selections. And I firmly believe the facts and stats I provided for each selection have fortified those opinions. But that ends with this post as I believe that the still active Serena Williams has proven herself to be the greatest all-time female tennis player. Some out there will still argue that it’s Margaret Court when looking at overall numbers before and after the open era. Others will claim Stefi Graf should still be recognized as the best from the modern era due to her higher numbers in some categories. And I’m sure there are a few who still say it’s Martina. But I believe at this point Serena Williams has justified her place as the best. And before she’s through, she, and her numbers, should put the argument to rest. After all, she’s done a pretty good job of it so far. Still on top at age 35, she has earned over $84,000,000.00 in career prize money. She is 5-2 in WTA singles finals, 23-6 in Grand Slam singles finals, and 1-0 in Olympics singles finals.She has been number 1 in the rankings 7 times and is the co-record holder, along with Graf, for maintaining number 1 ranking for 186 consecutive weeks. She’s 3rd overall in total weeks at number 1 at 316. She is 5-2 in WTA tour title finals. As impressive as her singles numbers are, when it comes to doubles finals she and her sister Venus are near perfect at 23-1. They are 14-0 in Grand Slam doubles finals, 3-0 in Olympic doubles finals, and 4-1 in WTA tour championships finals. And while her sister has helped to make her part of an unbeatable doubles team, Venus has also subtracted from her Grand Slam singles totals. She also has won 2 Grand slam mixed doubles championships. Serena is currently the top player in the game. Barring any unforeseen injury or health issues, she should maintain her stay at the top for now and continue adding titles to her record. For all the above and more, Serena Williams is the greatest female tennis player of all-times.
One of the most frequent questions I get asked by potential readers is, why should I buy your book as opposed to any of the numerous others written on Ali? The answer to that I tell them is easy. As the book description on the back cover reads: Ali was the “Poet Laureate of Pugilism.” It is in that spirit that author David A. Bates has created “ODES ON ALI: A Tribute To The Greatest” covering Ali’s professional boxing career from his pro debut to the fight in which he captured the heavyweight title for the third and final time. Each fight is recalled in a lyrically rhyming poetry style reminiscent of Ali’s own rhyming recitations. It is a concise biographical portrayal that is an informatively accurate, highly entertaining read. I tell them that I believe that description is what sets it apart from all the other books on Ali. I believe the informative value is equal to any other biographical book on Ali. And the artistic value separates it from the others. If still not convinced, I simply refer them to the various reviews received. Most acknowledge that unique artistic value with the comments written by the various reviewers such as:
“Throughout the pages of this magnificently written book, it is visible that the author is truly fond and devoted to the legendary Muhammad Ali. a truly beautiful way of showing it with love speaking through every page.”
“I was delightfully surprised to find the entire book written in the form of a poem. I absolutely loved it! It was beautiful, eloquent and delightful to read. It captured Ali’s thoughts and feelings during major fighting events and personal trials throughout his life and career. A definite must read!”
If those to comments from reviewers don’t tell a reader why they should choose my book over the numerous other Ali books out there then I don’t know that anything more from me would.