Bomaye Ali!: A Lesson About The Greatness Found Within

There was a man who defined Determination.

There was a man who defined Perseverance.

There was a man who defined Charisma.

There was a man who defined Athlete.

There was a man who defined Showmanship.

There is a man who defined Courage.

There was a man who defined Defiance.

There was a man who defined Resolve.

There was a man who defined Champion.

There was a man who defined Greatness.

 His Name was ALI.

In a lifetime we all have moments in which we are a Champion. A blessed few experience greatness.
But only one can be defined as The Greatest.

In his own words

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

It was the fight that he fought within himself that produced the greatness that we all had the fortune to witness, learn about, learn from and now celebrate. As I am typing this I am watching the Mayor of Louisville deliver his remarks on the native son that inspired not just his own generation, but every generation that have had the pleasure of sharing time on this earth with greatness the likes of Muhammed Ali.

“The work of the heart is never done.”

When I was in the early days of DSL I would sit in my bed. Write and create. It was exactly what people thought it was. Me in my boxers, typing up game highlights, writing diatribes on the power of overcoming the perceptions that we have of ourselves as Delawareans and working together as a community to make it a FUN place to live.

There were two things that I watched over and over and over and over again in the background. Every Day. For just about the entire first two years and have come back to them often over the years. The first was Band of Brothers. At the age that I was when I started DSL my grandfathers and uncles had already been to war. Even though I was starting a business that just about no one thought would work and was scared out of my mind the day I took the step to commit to it full time, none of that would compare to war or the kind of courage needed to go to and survive war.

The next was “When We Were Kings”. It is a documentary about the Ali and the “Thrilla In Manilla”. It taught me about sacrifice. It taught me about determination. It taught me about self value and how to believe in the dream that you have created for yourself. To me it was about beating the challenger inside that is born of the skepticism of others who question your ability to succeed. Having that documentary running in the background as I was creating DSL helped remind me that it was only myself to whom I had anything to prove. To everyone else it was just a show to which they had opinion about how it would end.  9 years later, the end has not been written yet and I am still in the drivers seat defining its direction.

Muhammed Ali and his journey helped remind me that only I have the power to write the ending and that it is a choice that I make to defeat the demons inside of me that will make me a champion of those who seek to predict my own future. Through him I have found the courage to reach for greatness and to look for it in myself rather than in the eyes of others.

It is in his name and spirit that I challenge Delaware to be fun. To embrace one another and to make it a challenge to ourselves to make Delaware a fun, active, vibrant, and welcoming state to live work and play.

It is often in bearing witness to the lives of our heroes that we learn and define greatness. There is not a man in history that has been a profound example of greatness than the Greatest Athlete of All Time.

Rest in Peace Mr. Ali. Thank you for sharing your greatness with the world.



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