Saturday, September 11, 2010

What Inspires Me? (Athletic Figures)

So I just realized I forgot to finish this list. Inspiration strikes and you end up forgetting the plan you're on. Here's Part 6 of the Inspiration Series coming live from San Diego

The athletes who inspire me don't do it because of on-the-court accomplishments. It's because they transcend the playing field with their causes, character and how they lived their lives. Anybody can throw, run with, pass or hit a ball and there's plenty of folks who do it well enough. But to be an athlete bigger than your sport is what matters to me.

As I've said before - heroes aren't made on the field, they live off it.

Jackie Robinson - What can you say about him that hasn't been said. He inspires me to live with conviction and walk with dignity. He forced America to see skill but after his career, he became a tireless advocate for minorities as coaches, general managers and movers in baseball besides the Civil Rights Movement.

Curt Flood - I've said it all here. A man of principle who sacrificed his career so his fellow athletes have the right to play wherever they want. He continue Jackie's legacy by fighting for the right to play where he wanted.

Arthur Ashe - The first Black male tennis star. But his legacy will be for his fight for civil rights, ending apartheid in South Africa and being a face of AIDS in his final days. How many men would be arrested so close to death to spark interest for Haitian refugees. A man of passion, integrity, quiet strength I wrote about last year.

John Carlos/Tommie Smith - Stand up for your rights. Don't give up the fight. They were demonized for their Black Power salute but that picture symbolizes how oppressed people were not afraid to show the whole world their struggle. They took a chance and silver medalist Peter Norman deserves to be recognized for his solidarity.

John Wooden - Coach was a teacher. A philosopher. A leader of men. It's more than a game.

AC Green - Not many athletes can admit being virgins. Not many will openly promote and help kids remain pure before marriage. Growing up, AC was one of the few athletes I looked up to because of his Christianity and he's a reminder that you can be a famous athlete with integrity.

Satchel Paige - He was a character and the ultimate showman years before Chad Ochocinco, Muhammad Ali and others followed his blueprint. He was a pioneer for Black players getting into baseball by proving his worth against any and all competition. Ever since I was a kid, he always fascinated me with his quotes and incredible skill. After reading his bio, he knew how to be accepted by the mainstream without compromising who he was. Not just one of the greatest pitchers of all time, one of the most fascinating characters of all time

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