LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Final December, I instituted an award with no ceremony, no trophy, no certificates, no money prize, no status, and no academy, apart from me.
I needed to acknowledge these people I deemed to be the sports activities individuals of the yr in our space. I did not actually outline the excellence, besides to say that I knew it once I noticed it. It is somebody who moved the general public needle in sports activities within the previous yr, however not essentially by way of controversy. Greater than probably, it isn’t simply somebody whose affect in sports activities was pronounced, however whose attain prolonged into most of the people, too.
In 2015, my winners have been American Pharoah and Bob Baffert for his or her Triple Crown accomplishments, Matt Jones, for his work not solely within the media however extending into new political ventures and serving as host at Kentucky’s historic Fancy Farm political picnic, and Katie George, who was the face of College of Louisville sports activities as a senior, as a volleyball All-American and Miss Kentucky USA.
This yr, the candidates have been many, however in the long run, the choice was straightforward. I am honoring a two individuals who not solely dominated the sports activities panorama on this metropolis for a big size of time, however who earned nationwide consideration in doing it. Each graced the duvet of Sports activities Illustrated, and each taught us classes out and in of their respective sports activities.
Muhammad Ali, who died this previous summer time, setting off a worldwide week of mourning and celebration, burst into the American consciousness when he gained the sunshine heavyweight gold medal within the 1960 Rome Olympics when he was 18 years previous. College of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson turned the youngest Heisman winner ever at age 19 in December.
This yr, these males blessed us with the top of 1 journey and the start of one other. We’re lucky to have had a hometown seat for his or her efforts. They’re my sports activities individuals of the yr for 2016.
Ali handed away on June three on the age of seventy four. He was very particular in how he needed his memorial dealt with, and his spouse, Lonnie Ali, was very trustworthy in finishing up these needs.
Ali’s Memorial Service, and his last procession via the streets of Louisville, was an occasion like none I’ve ever seen on this metropolis, and an occasion like none we’ll see once more. It was a world occasion, in fact, with information organizations from everywhere in the world in Louisville to memorialize “The Biggest.”
Nevertheless it additionally was an intimate occasion, when Ali’s funeral procession pulled off Interstate sixty five, turned proper on…