Attendees at the National Association of Broadcasters' Service to America Awards got an unexpected treat when legendary boxing champion Muhammad Ali - NAB's Leadership award-winner, spoke about his career in boxing and television.
Because the once loquacious Ali has been slowed in recent years by the effects of his many ring battles and by Parkinson's disease, his wife Lonnie accepted the award and spoke about their commitment to public service. Ali remained seated, occasionally mugging playfully for the camera. But when his wife invited him to the stage, Alii stepped up to a standing ovation.
Ali recounted the familiar story of how his desire for vengeance against the thief who stole his bicycle introduced him to boxing at 12, and he spoke of his thrill at being featured on the Louisville, Ky. television program Tomorrow's Champions during the 1950s. Lonnie Ali had earlier noted that the station that carried the boxing program, WAVE(tv) was among the award winners that evening.
- Dan Trigoboff