Skip to main content
Home Karma Chronicle

Karma Chronicle

Have Confidence in Yourself

News Type: 
Date: 
Thursday, January 3, 2019

Stop overthinking.

Everyone has a goal in their mind that they want to do every day. Some succeed because of how committed they are to doing everything they can do to get to their goal.

According to junior YM Foo, even the simple act of trying can lead to great things.

Sebastian Wind confidently gets ready to go to class. 

“It’s better to try new things because it gives us a chance to have new experiences even if they’re bad,” he said. “Trying your best and being not successful is way better than not doing anything at all because it shows that you actually did something.”

Sophomore Jayden Williams agrees with that sentiment. To him, it’s not necessarily about talent, but effort.  

“Anyone can be successful if you have motivation to push yourself forward,” he said.

There will always be obstacles in the way of you when you’re proceeding towards your goal. But don’t just ignore people when they are saying negative things about you because some of what they say might be facts about who you are. Just accept those facts so you can move on.

As junior Sebastian Wind noted, sometimes moving on “could be easier than you might think.”  

Maybe the challenges in your life are hard for you, but you’re just overthinking it. It’s good to have confidence but don’t be too overconfident about what you’re doing before you’ll regret something later.

Friends Dont Let Friends Eat Fake Poke

News Type: 
Date: 
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Poke (pronounced POH-kay) has never been easier to get in Hawaii as well as on the mainland United States. You can find it as the cubes of raw fish that you eat at a beach picnic, part of a pu pu platter, at the grocery store, or even while sitting on the tailgate of a truck.

Poke, in all its forms, is indeed the unofficial food of Hawaii, consisting of marinated raw ahi tuna. The simple dish gained popularity within the last three years but has a rich history.

The word “poke” means “to slice” or “to cut crosswise into pieces” in Hawaiian. Native Hawaiians would slice up small reef fish and serve it raw. Sometimes limu (edible brown algae) and kukui nut paste, known as “inamona,” was mixed with the sliced fish to create the dish. Japanese influences during the 1800s contributed to the evolution of the dish, when the fish base shifted to ahi tuna and inamona was replaced with shoyu.

Sophomore Lyla Gonsalves prefers to prepare her own poke using traditional ingredients and shoyu, which is what it’s usually marinated in today.

“I make it with shoyu, limu, and kukui nuts, not with lettuce or just eating it plain,” she said.

A delicious bowl of shoyu ahi poke (image courtesy of AnnaSea).

Poke can not only be eaten alone but also found on top of rice, which is known as a poke bowl. Sometimes, furikake (Japanese seasoning) is sprinkled on the rice. Now, instead of being served on rice, poké can be found on greens, zoodles, and even quinoa.

The options that poke can be found on has been recently created by businesses who have jumped on the bandwagon. Poke has boomed on the mainland since it’s been labeled healthy because of how it’s made raw with vegetables.

Senior Makana Hoapili is shocked that poke has established itself on the mainland since it’s mostly known in the islands.

“I didn’t think it would become a thing on the mainland,” he said.

From a business perspective, poke is customizable and more economical compared to opening a restaurant. A restaurant has requirements such as industrial strength equipment and a vent system. To make the dish, an oven, let alone a full kitchen isn’t needed at all.

Due to the popularity around social media nowadays, almost anything can be transformed to be Instagrammable, which is why various toppings have been added to poke, ranging from watermelon radish to avocado or even Capelin roe. Anything that can make it look colorful will result in more likes.

Although the mainland is changing poke from its original form, the freshness of poke is vital. Many shops are serving poke made from fish that has been caught days or even weeks before and has been treated in order to preserve its color. Fishing is a habit that a lot of locals enjoy in Hawaii and when someone catches a lot of fish, they usually share it with their friends and family, which might be turned into poke.

Gonsalves not only likes to make her own food but believes that knowing where the ingredients come from creates a deeper meaning.

“The fact that I know the person who fished for the food creates more of a connection,” she said.

The mainland may be altering poke but it will always be a part of Hawaii, and for locals, real poke is the taste of home.

“It’s something I can appreciate on the daily,” Hoapili said.

Marching Towards Equal Rights

News Type: 
Date: 
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

This year marks the second year that PBA has participated in the Honolulu Pride Parade and, although nothing can top the amount of positivity and support from all the participants, the parade itself has a rich history that not many people know about.

It all started with a police raid on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn located in New York City. The city’s police raided the bar since it was operating without a liquor license and revelers inside were arrested while patrons were handcuffed outside. According to the New York City liquor authority, licenses weren’t given to establishments that served gay patrons.

This was during the 1960s, when people were not as welcoming to the LGBT community so various gay bars became a place of refuge for them. The Stonewall Inn had become a home to many and was considered a sacred bar.

The raid provoked a riot between the bar patrons and the police when a woman was hit on the head by an officer, which caused the police to barricade themselves in the bar. Fueled by anger, the crowd set the barricade on fire and the crowd was later dispersed by the fire department as they put out the flames. Over the next six days, demonstrations happened outside of the bar where thousands of people shared their thoughts on the LGBT community.

This event encouraged people to stand up for LGBT political activism. The first Pride Parade was held in New York City on June 28, 1970 -- one year after the Stonewall riots. The parade was fifty-one blocks long and featured an official chant: “Say it loud, gay is proud.”

Due to everyone’s efforts and support towards the LGBT community, the Pride Parade’s journey has been grueling but all the hard work has paid off, as parades continue to be held in honor of the Stonewall riots. The Honolulu Pride Parade has been held since 1990 and thousands of people have participated in this colorful festival.

This was the first time that freshman Riley Jose has participated in the event. She decided to attend because she thought it would be fun to see so many people coming together for a good cause.

PBA students pose at the start of the pride parade (photo by Blanche Yarnell).

“ I think Pride is important because it’s celebrating our differences and accepting people for who they are,” she said.

Senior Jocelyn Miyashiro attended both the 2017 and 2018 Honolulu Pride Parade. From her experience, she felt more prepared this year since there was more time to plan and she continues to enjoy being there to experience the support towards the community.

“I was very inspired by it because not all the people there were a part of the LGBTQ+ community and it made me happy to see so many supporters,” she said.

The LGBT community has expanded and is now known as the LGBTQ+ community. The community has gone through numerous hardships, from violent crimes done to LGBTQ+ individuals to being sent to “gay conversion therapy.” By attending the parade, people were able to reflect on the difficulties that others had to go through in the past and even today in some places.

“I think that all the people that went through not being accepted as a person or who you choose to love are great role models for what they did,” Jose said.

Miyashiro shares similar thoughts. She believes that these people are inspirational since they have endured the hate from others just because of their difference in sexuality and the community itself is more welcomed now compared to just a few years ago.

“It has inspired me because they have gone through so many hardships as a community and individually yet they’re still proud of who they are,” she said.

Many agree that the Pride Parade is not only a memorable experience but also an eye-opener. Everyone is able to participate in Pride and it’s an opportunity that, according to Miyashiro, you definitely don’t want to take for granted.

“If you’re reading this, you should go to Pride,” she said. “I really hope that PBA will always have a place in the Pride parade.”

The Hype of Supreme

News Type: 
Date: 
Thursday, October 25, 2018

T-shirts that’ll run you $1,000. Hoodies that go for $2,000. Crowbars that sell for $250 and individual bricks that cost $200. Supreme, the billion dollar streetwear brand has taken the world by storm with their outlandish products and even crazier resell prices.

In 1994, James Jebbia, the founder of Supreme, started up his first store in SoHo, Manhattan. At the time, it was a cool, simple yet secretive shop that sold clothes and skateboards to skaters in the area.

The goal of Supreme was never to make it big one day but rather to provide for open minded, loyal customers. This optimistic attitude of both the brand and its customers did wonders in the earlier years with notoriety spreading quickly through word of mouth.

Eventually, celebrities started to take notice, most notably rappers such as Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and Tyler the Creator. They took Supreme and brought it into the public eye for the first time. They started boosting the brand’s popularity and the public’s demand for it.

Sophomore Lyla Gonsalves, a fan of Supreme’s earlier underground years, isn’t particularly a fan of all the new hype that has been brought to the company.


Hundreds of people line up outside the Los Angeles Supreme store waiting for it to
open (photo credit: Glossy).

“I feel like in the beginning people bought Supreme because they really enjoyed the brand,” she said. “Nowadays people just buy it for the hype. Back then I used to like Supreme more compared to now but as it got more mainstream it got less cool. Everyone just wears it because of the hype rather than actually liking the product, which I don’t agree with.”

On the other hand there are people like senior Daniel Kohn, who enjoys all the hype and attention that Supreme has been getting recently

“I like Supreme because I gotta flex,” he said, referring to dressing in a cool way. “It’s all about flexing.”

The hype surrounding Supreme was also created through the company’s brilliant marketing approach. Supreme has never spent a penny on advertising, they have never sold out and gone commercial, and they aren’t afraid to express their viewpoints and make a statement.

Through the limited quantity releases of their products, over time they have created a market where every single one of their items sell out. From dog bowls to shovels, fans of the brand never hold back in buying something labeled with the Supreme logo.

Along with the hype, however, has come a resale market where sold-out items are marked up and resold at a much higher amount. This has caused a lot of issues where fans of Supreme have to pay ridiculous prices for the items they want.

“I think it is good that the world knows about Supreme,” Kohn said. “What's bad about it though is that you can’t always get what you want. Now you gotta pay a lot more on other websites and most of the people buying Supreme just try to resell it rather than wear it.”

While Supreme continues to gain popularity, it seems to have lost a part of itself along the way. The hype of Supreme has paved a path for the company -- one that conflicts with the ideals of their once simple, secretive shop. Loyalty doesn’t seem common anymore.

“When Supreme was out on the streets more and worn by everyday people who actually liked the brand, it was better because it was still genuine,” Gonsalves said. “When celebrities and influencers started wearing it, they took it to another level and kind of ruined it.”

Memes at PBA

News Type: 
Date: 
Thursday, October 25, 2018

A common development when dealing with teenagers is the introduction of new memes -- pictures or videos meant to elicit laughter or amusement.

Memes can range from a picture or video that is reused to convey a relatable feeling or funny sentiment different from its original source material. Now that the internet can popularize a meme overnight, it has become very hard to stay up to date with the newest and hottest thing in memedom.

One example of a popular meme is “One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor.” This 2005 meme refers to the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the complexity of entering Mordor, home to the trilogy’s villain, Sauron. When used in memeform, it expresses the difficulty of a situation, such as a test: “One Does Not Simply Pass This Test.”

But, according to sophomore Lyla Gonsalves, there are good memes and bad ones.

“A good meme is not so mainstream,” she said.

An example of the "One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor" meme (photo credit: imgflip)

To Gonsalves, originality is the most important aspect of a meme and is what separates a good one from a bad one. When looking for memes, Gonsalves frequents Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.

Seniors Kaci Yamato and Lyla’s brother, Jacob, also know a lot about this subject as the reigning hoss election Meme King and Queen. According to Yamato, she was elected because she likes “to make people laugh” and is “naturally ‘meme quality.’”

Jacob feels that memes have different levels of quality that are directly tied to their usage.

“Bad ones are the ones that are overused, not unique, or don’t die,” he said. “Those become old and unfunny. Good ones I see usually are short lived or iconic.”  

Memes aren’t just seen on the internet. For Yamato, they even influence how she communicates with her peers.

“Honestly, for me, memes sometimes come up when I’m interacting with people,” she said. “Some of my friends, like Warner (Onuma), use memes in basically every sentence.”

Having taken a closer look into meme’s prevalence in PBA students, it can safely be said that it’s usage varies from student to student. Some students throw out a meme reference every other sentence while others tend to rarely make passing reference to it.

Wherever you fall please be sure to keep calm and meme on.

Behind the Scenes of Camp: A Senior's Perspective

News Type: 
Date: 
Monday, October 8, 2018

Camp has been a part of PBA’s tradition for many years and it is the seniors’ responsibility to plan the entire three-day event for the school. As a senior for about three months, I’ve just gone through the emotions and struggles that previous seniors have experienced. This is a behind the scenes look at what goes into planning camp.

I have enjoyed camp for the past two years and there is a lot of work in order for it to be successful. Every student will eventually become a senior and, for me, this year is when I received all the duties that come with the title. My class is small compared to previous classes which means that each of us had more work to do, but I learned later that our small size turned out to be beneficial.

We started planning camp towards the end of last school year as juniors -- picking the theme, creating the menu, listing possible activities, and just trying to have a head start. We were placed in three groups: food, logistics, and activities. Since we are such a small class, we ended up helping other groups once our sections were done.

PBA students play sham battle on the second day of camp (photo by Kaci Yamato).

When we first started camp planning, there were not many disagreements and everyone seemed to have an idea of what needed to be done. But when we started the new school year, everything became too much to handle. Camp was quickly approaching and everything needed to be done immediately. Everyone became overwhelmed with stress and we were met with numerous obstacles that we overcame together.

A common obstacle that seniors have to overcome during camp planning is miscommunication. This is why it is important to explain things thoroughly, listen, and ask questions to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

For example, I typed out the instructions on how to make dessert and I thought that we were dying the yogurt with food coloring. It turned out that the whipped cream was supposed to be dyed instead. Since the instructions were printed, I had to notify the teacher in charge of dessert to dismiss the instructions and explain that the whipped cream was being dyed.

Another obstacle is not prioritizing what needs to be done. Camp requires many things and although they all need to be done beforehand, there are various deadlines for each part. This year, we decided to tie-dye shirts, which takes a lot of time and effort. It is easier and less stressful if you plan out what needs to be done each day.

When camp was less than two weeks away, arguments broke out. People were stressed and their emotions got the best of them, but the people in our class forgive easily. We try to understand each other’s perspective, talk it out, and move on from it.

Before we knew it, camp was less than a week away and this was when more physical work was required, such as shopping for groceries, packing the coolers, checking the tents’ conditions, and loading the U-Haul. Figuring out the measurements and amounts needed for each item before going to the store not only saves time but allows others to shop for the items and not have to worry about miscalculations. Packing is essential since food and materials for camp need to be in the U-Haul, so there needs to be at least one person responsible for that section present during packing. Therefore, that person needs to know what we have and where everything is placed.

I think there is only so much you can do to prepare for camp and there is always going to be some minor changes involved. It is clear that camp is a challenge but it is not impossible to accomplish. Previous years have done it, my class has conquered it, and future classes will too.

From my experience, I have a few tips to share which I hope other classes will find useful. An important factor to keep in mind is that everyone has their own ideas so keep an open mind. Not everyone is going to agree on something but compromise and talk it out. When arguments happen, let it go, and move on. Holding a grudge is not worth it and definitely will not help with camp planning. Also, things happen and there are alternatives so just because something unexpectedly causes a change in plans, camp is not ruined. It is your last camp so make it the best one yet.

There is a huge relief and feeling of accomplishment once camp is finished. I feel like we really bonded since we have seen each other when we were beyond stressed, exhausted, happy, and annoyed. Camp could not have been done without everyone’s help. I think that it was absolutely worth all the time and effort and you will realize it too.

PBAs Newest Students: Traveling from Afar

News Type: 
Date: 
Monday, September 17, 2018

A new year means new students and for PBA it means receiving seven students from places ranging from California to Germany. The new school year is a fresh start for many and although entering a new school can be nerve-wracking, the new students have been fitting in well with the PBA community.

Freshman Jordan Love was initially nervous about coming to PBA since he had been living in Kansas for fourteen years and has only attended public schools.

“I was very nervous about starting high school since it was something new to me and I was in an entirely different state,” he said.

Sophomore Malec Haider has only attended public schools as well and is new to Hawaii from Los Angeles. He immediately noticed the small student population, the range of electives, and how the students’ habits are much better compared to his previous school.

“Classes are a good size and there is a lot more electives than my old school,” he said.

Some of PBA's newest students from outside of Hawaii (from left): Jordan Love,
   Malec Haidar, Sebastian Wind

The school’s education system is different compared to others since PBA goes by cycles and each core class is about two hours long. This may be difficult for some to get used to, but most of the students are adjusting well.

“I like how we only do two core classes instead of the seven periods because that always stressed me out,” Haider said.

Love feels the same way about the school’s curriculum since he used to have a hard time juggling the work from so many classes.

“I think it was a good choice, I feel like I’m learning a lot better,” he said.

Most of the classes at the school rely on technology to do assignments and projects which is different for Sebastian Wind, a junior exchange student from Germany. Wind also noticed how the school does not have a bell system. After attending the school for a few weeks, he realized that it’s the student’s responsibility to get to class on time due to the lack of a bell which is a good habit to practice.

PBA’s staff and students are what welcomes everyone and could make anyone feel as if they have already been a part of this community.

“The familiarity with the teachers and how you can talk to them, it’s like a big family,” Wind said.

Incoming students, especially those from public schools, have noticed how the teachers care for their success and growth. Teachers at the school are guiding students in the right direction and helping them grow into who they strive to be.

“There aren’t a thousand kids walking around and the teachers here care a lot more about each student’s grade, they want everyone to pass,” Haider said.

Wind was nervous at first about attending PBA since he was from an entirely different country but when he attended freshmen orientation, he found out that the school exceeded his expectations. As the first cycle started, he easily made new friends and commented on how everyone is polite and it’s a good community to be in.

One factor that makes PBA different compared to other schools is the various students attending and, for Love, he thinks that it’s an opportunity to make a lot of new friends. Wind believes that PBA is unconventional because of how the entire school is based on Buddhism and the concept is connected to the curriculum. Haider feels that everything that makes up the school is the reason for why it’s distinct.

“This brand new campus, the students, and staff members, all make it seem like a great place to get an education,” Haider said.

One Step at a Time

News Type: 
Date: 
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

If you were asked to name all the bad things in our world, the list would go on forever. Heartbreaking incidents on the daily news such as school shootings and useless conversations with those who don’t care about making a change are just some of the daily things that we have to put up with. Is this what humanity has come to?

We’re living in the twenty-first century and there’s still an ongoing battle against racism. Young adults are suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, while mass shootings still appear on the news. Do we really have to be this cruel to each other?

There’s so much negativity in our world and it feels like it’s growing with every passing day. Hearing news about the prejudice against immigrants, the war in Iraq, and religious violence in places like Nigeria contributes to this hopeless feeling. It’s just a pit of emptiness and we’re falling. There are those who care about social issues such as poverty, racism, and gun violence. People dedicate their time to improve these issues but there are those who don’t care at all.

Many have lost themselves to the idea of not caring about anything unless it affects them personally. They’re oblivious to what’s going on around them, strolling through life never giving a second glance.

The problem is their mindsets. We usually think that whenever we share our idea it’ll just get lost in the sea we live in so it doesn’t matter if we say anything or not. Others fear of getting shut down and judged for their thoughts but we should be able to have places where people are comfortable enough to talk about how they feel.

                                                                                  Image by Gina Lau.

Any place could be transformed into an accepting environment by showing others how it’s a safe space where no judgement takes place and trust could be formed between group members. We should be able to trust others and show our vulnerability while discussing issues in our world.

If there were more discussions about the issues in our world, then more minds would be working on improving our society.

Change doesn’t happen itself, we have to make change happen. Those who are disconnected with the world will snap out of it one day and realize that they have the power to save lives and put an end to the horrible things happening in the society that we’re living in. They just have to take the first step.

If it wasn’t for those protesting against racism, fighting to end hunger and poverty, and pushing for a better society overall, we wouldn’t be living as comfortably as we are now. About 40.6 million people are below the poverty line and twelve percent of Americans say that racism is either a small problem or not a problem at all. Poverty and racism are only two examples of what people are enduring in their daily lives. The majority of the people in the world are living a better life compared to others but those suffering deserve a good life as well. This imbalance has been going on for a while and these problems haven’t been solved yet since not enough people are aware of what’s happening and how they could help.

You have a voice, use it. You’re capable of making someone’s day and to make a better society for not only yourself but for future generations. There are many opportunities out there such as local volunteer work and organizations like UNICEF and CARE that want to make a positive change in people’s lives globally. You could even form your own safe space or group that not only discusses social issues but contributes to making a change either big or small. You just have to make the decision of taking action.

Everyone deserves genuine happiness. It could easily be gained and spread around with others. By bringing awareness to an issue, supporting an organization, or forming your own group that takes action towards social issues you can make a difference. It may take a while to create this ideal world but it’s not completely impossible -- it just takes one small step at a time and an open mind.

Odell Beckham Jr.: A First Hand Look

News Type: 
Date: 
Monday, May 14, 2018

The one handed catch is an art form in football that gives receivers a competitive edge. Where a traditional catch utilizes both hands receivers may opt to use one hand when the other is handling a defender.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. arguably popularized this form of catching in the NFL with his one-handed catch against the Dallas Cowboys. This wasn’t an oddity whatsoever as he and former LSU teammate Jarvis Landry practiced such extravagant catches frequently.

Along with practice and skill, Beckham’s hand size is a major factor in how he can grip a ball with such ease. At ten inches long, Beckham has hands larger than other star wide receivers despite being shorter in height. A normal NFL regulation size ball has a circumference of twenty-two inches at the center, meaning that one of Beckham’s hands can go around nearly half the ball.

Beckham moments before a catch (photo credit: Daily Snark). 

While Beckham’s catch is his main claim to fame he also is a remarkable player who is able to compete with high caliber cornerbacks, such as Washington Redskins Pro Bowler Josh Norman. Before a game against Beckham, Norman and another assailant threatened him with a bat. Beckham didn’t appreciate the gesture and during the game their feud continued, resulting in numerous fights, one of which Beckham ran fifteen yards out and ran towards Norman, headbutting him in the head 

This display resulted in both players being fined and Beckham receiving a single game suspension. As a Beckham fan I felt that he was at fault as attempting to injure another player is unacceptable. However, threatening one another has no place in the sport whatsoever.

Aside from his on-the-field rivalry with Norman, Beckham has an easily triggered temper as well as extreme emotions. I do not agree with the way he expresses his emotions, whether it be hitting another player, swearing at a referee, yelling at his own teammates, and assaulting football equipment -- it just takes away from his exceptional ball skills. However, I feel that a certain intensity and emotional investment in the game is necessary for a good player to be great.

Being a player of such allure, he has garnered attention throughout the league. In his 2014 rookie season he was the Rookie of the Year, which is an award given to the highest performing player of that year’s draft class. He was also named All-Pro for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Such high honors calls for celebrating and with the league’s new rules concerning celebration, Beckham can perform as many touchdown dances his heart desires (given he makes the touchdown). Many of his individual performances have gone viral on the internet, drawing even more eyes to him.

Given Beckham’s rookie contract is nearing its end, I feel the Giants will need to assess his value as a team member and they will also need to take his on the field behavior into account.

It is important to be good at football, but to me it is equally as important to provide kids positive role models in their favorite NFL players. However, I know that the NFL puts business before morals and they don’t necessarily think about questionable characters over good players. I feel that as long as he continues to perform at the same high level he should get an extensive new contract. Nonetheless I do look forward to see where Beckham’s career takes him.

The People's Champion

News Type: 
Date: 
Monday, May 7, 2018

Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. is one of the greatest sporting figures to have ever lived. He had it all, the athletic ability, courageousness, humility, charisma, charm, and of course, the mouth to match. He is known to the world as “The Greatest” and even to this day, nicknames of the same caliber are unheard of. There was no one like him and there will be never be anyone else like him.

Clay’s extraordinary career all started at the age of 12 when someone stole his beloved red and white Schwinn bicycle. Shortly after realizing his bike was gone, he filed a complaint to a police officer while at the same time vowing to pummel the thief if he ever had the chance. As fate would have it, the officer, Joe Martin, just so happened to also be a boxing trainer. From then on, Martin took Clay under his wing and just a month and a half later, Clay had already won his first fight.

Clay’s boxing career is a legendary one from start to finish. At 18, just two years after he started training under Martin, he had already claimed two Golden Glove titles, two Amatuer Union National titles and a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Through each and every fight, Clay’s lack of shyness and boastful attitude earned him the nickname “The Louisville Lip,” which was befitting for the loud-mouthed lionheart champion. At the end of his amatuer career, Clay’s record was 100 wins to 8 losses, a remarkable 93 percent win-rate.

On October 29, 1960, Clay’s fought his first professional boxing match. The fight looked like an easy one and it traveled down its usual course with Clay dominating, laying down the heat both verbally and physically and ending in a win. One would assume that the transition from amatuer fights to professional would have some sort of effect but it didn’t seem to phase him.

Four years, 19 fights and 15 knockouts later, Clay got his first shot at a heavyweight title. It would be against Sonny Liston, who was undoubtedly a fearsome opponent. Clay being Clay, however, taunted Liston endlessly saying that he would end the fight in a knockout, which he did. In the seventh round at “10,” while Liston was still glued to the mat, Clay was declared victor and crowned heavyweight champion of the world. Clay was too fast and too powerful. As he put it best, he “floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.” He was exuberant, confident, and looked invincible.

With all the doubt placed on Clay’s shoulders now lifted, he assured the world that he was really as good as he said he was. Soon after he beat Liston, he pointed at nearby news reporters that had previously doubted him, shouting, “I told you, I told you, I told you exactly what I was going to do and I did it!” In a follow-up interview shortly after he yelled into the microphone for the world to hear, “I don’t have a mark on my face, and I just upset Sonny Liston, and I just turned 22. I must be the greatest! I told the world!” And from that moment on, a new era was born. An era of greatness. The era of Cassius Clay.

“I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed
    lightning. And threw thunder in jail” (photo credit: Evening Standard).

For the next five years, Clay would reign supreme in the ring, untouchable. He had triumphed over nine other young bulls that were gunning for his belt and of those nine, seven ended in knockouts. He was in his prime, 29-0, “The People’s Champion” as they called him but everything got flipped upside down when he refused to serve in the Vietnam War. Shortly before being drafted, Clay converted to Islam and his newfound religious beliefs conflicted with the war. Many people at the time stood up and supported his decision but many more disagreed. Clay, as he always had, was speaking up about how he felt and what he believed in but he was still fined and stripped of his heavyweight title and boxing license, leaving him unable to box for the next three years. Clay didn’t mind much, however, as boxing wasn’t his “main fight.”

In the following three years, Clay gave speeches at college campuses and various other places here and there protesting the war and bringing awareness to discrimination. No matter what, he always stood up for what he believed in. He didn’t just shake boxing. He shook up to the world with encouraging, truthful statements, and an honest heart.

During all the adversity and publicity surrounding Clay and his views, he managed to get the attention of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam at the time. Elijah had recognized Clay’s strength and loyalty to his religious beliefs and thought it appropriate to bestow upon him a new name: Muhammad Ali. Prior to adopting his new name, Clay never really resonated with his original one, saying “Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name – it means ‘beloved of God,’ and I insist people use it when people speak to me.”

After three years went by, Ali had his boxing license reinstated and in October of the same year he returned to the ring, winning two fights in his usual fashion. Five months later he got the chance to reclaim his heavyweight title in “The Fight of The Century” against Joe Frazier, but sadly, his flawless 31-0 record was shattered.

Fourteen wins and another loss later, including a non-title win against Joe Frazier, Ali fought another championship title match against George Foreman, which went down in history as “The Rumble In the Jungle.” Ali won this fight and finally reclaimed his heavyweight title after seven years. He then defended his title 11 more times, looking like “The Greatest” once again, most notably in the “Thrilla in Manilla” fight against Joe Frazier.

In his 58th professional fight, Ali lost to Leon Spinks, losing both his title and belt once again. Seven months later he got his revenge by becoming the first man to ever win the heavyweight title three times. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and after losing his last two fights in 1981, Muhammad Ali retired at the age of 39 with a record of 56 wins and 5 losses, with 37 of those wins ending in knockouts.

Three years later, Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but that never stopped him from embracing his generous, charitable, kind, and compassionate personality. Ali showed lots of support to foundations such as Make A Wish and Special Olympics. He delivered millions of dollars worth of medical aid to Cuba, delivered food and supplies to those in need in Mexico and various other African countries. He traveled to Iraq to negotiate the release of 15 hostages of his own accord and founded the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, which has single handedly brought Parkinson awareness into the light of the world.

Muhammad Ali was “The Greatest” and everyone from past opponents to kids around the globe knew it. That's why in 1990 Muhammad Ali was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. It's why in 1996, he was given the honor to light the cauldron during the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics. In 1999, he was voted the sporting personality of the century by BBC and in that same year he was voted sportsman of the century by Sports Illustrated. Ali was named Ring Magazine’s fighter of the year five times and in 2005 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Muhammad Ali was strong mentally and physically and defines the phrase “Never give up.” He sacrificed his blood for bravery, sweat for grit, and tears for character. He was intelligent and kind and always stood up for what he believed in. He was indeed one of the best boxers to ever step into the ring due to his speed, mental strength and unique style but he was also an outstanding individual outside of the ring due to his leadership, perseverance and bravery. He influenced countless lives in a positive way teaching the world to pursue their imagination and to stand up for what they believed in, what is right. He motivated the world saying things like "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life" and "If my mind can conceive it, if my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it." Muhammad Ali was one of a kind. He had the commitment, the excellence, the results, the passion, the toughness, the discipline and the truth. He had everything it took, everything you needed, and in the end, above all else, he had greatness.

Pages