Joe Frazier deserves more than a lurking presence in Ali’s shadow, and he knew it. As Mark Kram Jr. puts it in his new biography, Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier, “the antipathy he harbored for Ali simmered just below a boil” even to the end of his life.
Posts by Noah Cohan
The notion that sports leads politics, represented in feel-good accounts of Jackie Robinson ending racism, have long since failed to pass muster. Yet perhaps the true audacity of hoop in the age of Obama is that off-court political issues are considered by the widest swath of American publics when voiced by those on it.
“Ultimately, Lazenby is content to define Jordan by his pathological competitiveness, as reified publicly in his 2009 Hall of Fame induction speech. In it, “Jordan chose to unburden himself and reveal his competitive heart, to address all of the things, real or imagined, that had driven him.” The result was a speech that seemed so bitter as to be “surprising, and even disappointing” to those who knew Jordan, and “shocking” to the public. For Lazenby, it merely affirms that “the things that had spurred Jordan on in his life were hugely negative,” that this man who brought billions of people joy was in fact defined by anger and hurt feelings.”