I wanted to be a sportswriter because I loved sports and I could not hit the curve ball, the jump shot, or the opposing ball carrier.
I was also in love with the English language.
My writing improved the more I wrote - and the more I read good writing, from Shakespeare on down.
I came up with new leads for game stories by being observant and clever, by using the many gifts of the English language to intrigue and hook a reader.
Sugar Ray Robinson was at the top of the boxing world during the 1950's when it seemed that he would either win or lose the championship about every three or four months.
It's kind of ironic that the two sports with the greatest characters, boxing and horse racing, have both been on the decline. In both cases it's for the lack of a suitable hero.
In fifty years of covering the sport, of course Muhammad Ali is by far the dominant figure.
Cliches and adjectives permeated my prose.
Also, I am driven by a wonderful muse called alimony.
Some people who love boxing might love Mike Tyson, but people outside of the sport are generally repulsed by him and therefore, repulsed by the sport.
Sportswriters have changed more than sportswriting.
I did not choose necessarily on the basis of significance. If you have a vote for the most significant athlete, then you have Ali, then you have Babe Ruth, then you have Michael Jordan.
I think my mistakes were kind of common - leaning on cliches and adjectives in the place of clear, vivid writing. But at least I knew how to spell, which seems to be a rarity these days.
If I got paid, it was no more than five dollars a column, and I still think I was overpaid.
I began learning the sportswriting business very early in life.
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