Sunday, February 01, 2009

Bill Simmons, one of my favorite sportswriters, once said something to the effect of, "The older I get, the more of my sports heroes I meet, and the more I am disappointed." Before I started covering sports full time, I had no clue what he was talking about, and I looked at my sports heroes with rose colored glasses for the most part. That is until tonight.

Tonight, after the Wizards game, I met boxer and former heavyweight champion, Riddick Bowe. If you don't know who he is, Riddick was once the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. He was personable, affable, smart(for a boxer), and his talent had no ceiling. Then he let fame go to his head, he spent too much money, couldn't keep his hands off women (he beat them), and landed in jail for a few years, then tried to fight again, but could not because age, brain damage and an erosion of skills had more than kicked into high gear. The rumor for the past couple of years was that Riddick was slurring his words, and sounding like Ali, but I had yet to see any evidence of this, until tonight.

Right before I left the Verizon Center after the Wizards game, I saw Bowe, and I went up to him, shook his hand, and let him know that I was a huge fan of his, and I wished him well with whatever the hell he was doing with his life. At this point, I just wanted to walk away and go home, but no such luck. He attempted to talk me to death about what he was doing with his life, and he wanted me to interview him. He convinced me that he was on the verge of becoming a top notch fighter again, and that he would be on top of the world soon. I actually would have been more than happy to interview him for my own personal gain, but I could not understand a solitary word he was saying. His words were slurred, he mumbled horribly, and even though his face displayed that youth like quality that I had known and loved 17 years earlier, nothing else about this man was the same, and it was sad. The two people with him continued to pump his head up, as if he was still 25 and full of promise, but deep down, even they had to see the sad truth. He was now and overweight, has-been, who had already used up his 15 minutes of fame.

Finally, I just interrupted Bowe, told him I had to get home to my lady who just had surgery, and I walked away feeling sad and dejected. I should have never spoken to him.


Jamal said...

Man, what happened to Riddick...This is really sad man.

Sab D said...

"Micah! Micah! What ole mac dona have?"

sixfive said...

I thought you were going to say he was an asshole and didn't want to talk to you. I think that would have been better.