In 1986, my best friend (Councilman Ted Green) and I were members of an Organization called BCD (Black Community Development).
In the 60's that same BCD stood for Black Community Defense, and you SHOULD understand why...LOL
We were Blessed by our awesome leader, Balozi Harvey to have the awesome task of picking The Champ (as I always called him) from The Omni Hotel in Manhattan, to participate in a Rally against Apartheid in Central Park with Nelson Mandela's daughter.
Mandela was still imprisoned at that time, and we were marching against Apartheid.
When we arrived to pick him up, we knocked on the door of his hotel room, and as he opened the door, he stopped me and said "Put your hands up"
We threw punches at each other for what seemed like an eternity, because I was so in AWE of this Man, unlike any other Man on this Earth.
Not because he was such a great Boxer.
I don't even wear Sports Jersey's with another mans name on it.
I am in AWE of this Man because of his Sacrifices in the name of doing what is MORALLY RIGHT.
His views on the Vietnam War were monumental at the time.
Back to the story...LOL
The Champ did magic tricks for us, and gave us autographed pictures of him.
A hotel maid asked to take a picture with him, and he was so REAL and DOWN TO EARTH.
When we walked out of the Hotel, he didn't rush to get in the car.
he took off his glasses, and placed them on top of the car and just stood there for people walking by to realize who he was.
Then it started...kissing babies...taking pictures...laughing...magic...jokes.
After about ten minutes, he got in the front seat, and I sat right behind him.
As we were on our way to Central Park, we were stopped at a light, and the Champ took off his glasses and looked at a Black taxi driver next to us.
The Champ called out to him and said " Hey...Hey...You look like Joe Frazier!"
The taxi driver realized who it was, and jumped out of his cab to shake The Champs hand.
After that first time, we were Blessed to escort him and his wife Lonnie whenever they came to NY/NJ for about 4 more timesI can remember taking them to the Airport, and for some reason I always got to sit in the back with The Champ and Lonnie.
He would pretend he was sleep and squeeze my knee real hard, and when I looked he would close his eyes...Hilarious.