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Muhammad Ali Biography

Posted On December 8th, 2018 By Celebrity Biographies

Muhammad Ali Biography
Muhammad Ali Biography

Muhammad Ali was an American boxing legend, a social activist and a philanthropist. He is considered the most notable and celebrated sports athlete of the 20th century. Arguably, he is also the greatest known boxing heavyweight champion of all time and was nicknamed “The Greatest”.

Early Life & Amateur Career

Muhammad Ali’s birth name was Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. and was born on 17 January 1942 to parents Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. (1912-1990) and Odessa O’Grady Clay (1917-1994). His father was a billboard and sign painter while his mother worked as a domestic helper. He also had a sister and four brothers.

Ali attended Central High School in Louisville. He suffered from dyslexia which troubled him a lot with reading and writing in the school and even later in his life. Moreover, he grew amid racial discrimination. His mother recollected one such an incident when he was not allowed to have a glass of water at a store. She said “They wouldn’t give him one because of his color. That really affected him.”

Ali was 12 years old when he met Joe E. Martin, who was a policeman and a boxing coach. It was fate that brought them together. Ali’s bike got stolen and when he met the police officer, he told him that he wanted to beat up the thief. “I want to whup the thief”, he said. Martin replied, “Well, you better learn how to fight before you start challenging people.” Ali didn’t take boxing seriously at this time, so he rejected Martin’s offer. But after a few days, he watched amateur boxing on television. He really got interested in boxing since that. So he started training with Fred Stoner at a local gym and this is how he began his boxing career. He credits Stoner with giving him the “real training”, eventually molding “my style, my stamina, and my system.”

In Muhammad Ali’s first amateur bout in the year 1954, he won the fight by a split decision. He then went on to win the “1956 Golden Gloves Tournament” for amateurs in the light heavyweight category. Later in 1959, Ali conquered the “National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions”, and also the “Amateur Athletic Union” title for the light heavyweight category. In 1960, he got his gold medal in boxing light heavyweight category in the Summer Olympics, Rome. Muhammad Ali’s amateur boxing record stood at 100 wins and only 5 losses. After his Olympic triumph, Muhammad Ali was declared as an American hero. Louisville Sponsoring Group backed Ali with the sponsorships, so he decided to turn professional.

Professional Career

Muhammad Ali made his professional boxing debut on October 29, 1960, against Tunney Hunsaker. He won the bout in six rounds. For the next six years, Ali went on to win 19 matches without losing any match. 15 of those matches were won by knockouts. These weren’t small fights by any means. He defeated several distinguished boxers including Jim Robinson, Tony Esperti, Donnie Fleeman, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, LaMar Clark, Doug Jones, Henry Cooper, and his former trainer Archie Moore.

In each of these bouts, Ali used to vocally belittle his opponents and bragged about his own strength. He once referred to Doug Jones as an “ugly little man” and called Henry Cooper a “bum”. He also said that getting in the ring with Alex Miteff was very embarrassing for him and that the popular arena “Madison Square Garden” was “too small for him”. Later in an interview, Ali admitted that he was motivated by the professional wrestler “Gorgeous George Wagner” and it was him who inspired Ali for using such provocative wrestling lingo when he did all the interviews. At the same time, Ali used to refer himself as “the greatest”. He always used to boast about his strengths before a fight. His one such self-praising phrases became an instant hit when he said that he could “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” in a boxing ring.

Muhammad Ali was rising to the top, still undefeated. In 1963, he became the top contender for Sonny Liston’s title, who was the boxing World Heavyweight Champion. Liston was a dominating boxer and intimidating as well. He was favored to win the bout between him and Ali. However, that did not stop Ali from making provocative comments before the fight. He said that Liston was “the big ugly bear” and “he even smells like a bear”. He further added that “after I beat him I’m going to donate him to the zoo.” Just before the fight, in the ring, Ali shouted at Liston saying “someone is going to die at ringside tonight.” Most of the spectators believed that Ali was afraid and all the trash talking was out of fear. Ali was clearly the underdog in the match with odds stacking 7-1 against him. But Ali rose to the occasion and defeated Liston in the 7th round by TKO (Technical Knockout). The outcome was a major upset. Ali became the youngest (22 years) boxer ever to take the title of a Heavyweight Championship from a reigning champion. After the fight, Ali paced towards the ringside press and shouted “Eat your words! I am the greatest! I shook up the world. I’m the prettiest thing that ever lived.” Liston and Ali had a rematch again in the year 1965. The whole fight lasted for less than 2 minutes as Ali knocked out Liston in the very first round. Ali’s impressive professional boxing record now stood at 21 wins and 0 losses.

In 1966, Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted in the armed forces, which was obligatory in those days. Leading to his refusal from the draft, boxing associations of every state in  America, systematically, refused boxing license to Ali and also stripped his passport. As a result, Ali was not able to fight in his prime time from the year 1967 to 1970. He had to give away his heavyweight championship. He was granted a boxing license by the City of Atlanta Athletic Commission in August 1970, where he fought and bested Jerry Quarry in three rounds. A few weeks later, New York State Boxing Commission had to reinstate Ali’s license after losing the case in Federal Court. Ali fought Oscar Bonavena in Madison Square Garden and won the match by a technical knockout. Muhammad Ali raised his tally to a remarkable 31 wins from 31 fights and was again a contender for the championship against Joe Frazier.

Before the fight, Joe Frazier had fought 26 bouts and won all 26. The whole world got so excited and enthusiastic about the bout between the two undefeated boxing stars, that the match was nicknamed “The Fight of the Century”.

Ali started training for the match at a farm at Reading, Pennsylvania. He loved training in the countryside so much that he decided to build a real training camp in Deer Park, Pennsylvania. This camp was named “Fighter Heaven” and Ali trained here for all of his fights for rest of his career from 1972 to 1981.

Days leading up to the fight with Frazier, Muhammad Ali started with the trash talking and name calling. He described Frazier as a “dumb tool of the white establishment.” Often referring to him as “Uncle Tom”, he also said that “Frazier is too ugly and dumb to be champ”.

It was March 8, 1971, the night of one of the biggest fights in boxing history. The bout was broadcasted in 35 countries outside America. The match started with Ali constantly engaging Frazier and putting him under pressure. Frazier, however, kept on attacking Ali’s body in particular and scoring regularly. In the first few rounds, the score looked even, but Ali had never taken this much beating in his entire career. Ali showcased what was to become his famous rope-a-dope strategy for the first time in this match. He leaned upon the ropes and absorbed as many hits as he could from Frazier, in order to tire him. In the final round of the match, Frazier knocked down Ali with a fierce left hook. The match referee asserted, “that was as hard as a man can be hit”. Ali though got back on his feet in just three seconds. After the final round, Frazier stood triumphant by a unanimous decision, giving Muhammad Ali, his first ever defeat in his professional career.

After losing to Joe Frazier, Ali went on to win a total of 9 fights in the year 1971 and 1972. In March 1973, American boxer, Ken Norton broke Ali’s jaw, resulting in the second loss of his career. Ali was 31 years old and he considered retiring from the sport, but instead, he got himself a rematch with Ken Norton, which he won by a split decision.

On January 28, 1974, a rematch was set between Muhammad Ali and his old rival, Joe Frazier. Frazier had already lost his World Heavyweight Championship, a year back, to George Foreman (nicknamed, The Big George). This fight was as intense as the first one. Ali attacked and shocked Frazier in the initial rounds, but Frazier came back strongly in the middle rounds to level up the scores. Ali was aware of Frazier left hook and moved swiftly to avoid the mistake that he made in their first fight. The last four rounds saw both fighters head to head, advancing and attacking and the momentum continued to shift from one to another. After the final round, Muhammad Ali was declared the winner by the judges, unanimously.

The victory against Joe Frazier set the stage for Muhammad Ali to fight for the heavyweight champion title which was being held by George Foreman. The match was set at Kinshasa, Zaire, on October 30, 1974. The bout was nicknamed “The Rumble in the Jungle.”

George Foreman was recognized as one of the hardest punchers in boxing history. According to analysts, Muhammad Ali, even though more popular with the boxing fraternity and fans, was not favored to win the fight. In the past Joe Frazier and Ken Norton, both had defeated Muhammad Ali in some grave encounters. But both of them were knocked out in the second rounds by George Foreman. Moreover, Ali was not the young guy anymore. He was 32 years old now and he clearly had lost his speed and reflexes, compared to what he had in his twenties. So, almost no one thought that Ali stood a chance in this bout against the Big George.

A day prior to the fight, Ali appeared in front of the press, brimming with confidence. He said, “If you think the world was surprised when Nixon resigned, wait ’til I whup Foreman’s behind!” In another statement, he said “I’ve done something new for this fight. I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.” Muhammad Ali had an immense fan following in Zaire. Everywhere he went, the masses chanted “Ali, Kill him”.

The fight started with Ali moving swiftly, throwing right crosses on Foreman’s head, in the first round. To everyone’s dismay, Ali moved towards the corner and executed the rope-a-dope strategy. He invited Foreman to hit him. While he defended and counter-attacked him, he was verbally taunting Foreman. This infuriated Foreman as he started throwing wild punches that landed nowhere. Soon he started getting tired, and at this moment, Ali started advancing and attacking him much more frequently, with flurries of effective and hard-hitting punches. The crowd went berserk at this spectacle. Foreman was clearly exhausted and Ali knocked him down in the eighth round. The jubilant crowd cheered as Muhammad Ali, regained the World Heavyweight Champion title.

After the fight, George Foreman said: “I thought Ali was just one more knockout victim until, about the seventh round, I hit him hard to the jaw and he held me and whispered in my ear: ‘That all you got, George?’ I realized that this ain’t what I thought it was.”

After becoming the world heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali agreed to another fight with Joe Frazier. The bout was scheduled for October 1, 1975, in Manila and was nicknamed “Thrilla in Manila”. In the first round, Ali moved aggressively and swiftly and attacked Frazier regularly. But again he decided to opt for rope-a-dope strategy. Ali took a heavy toll from Frazier’s attacks but did some effective counter-punching during this time. By the 12th round, Frazier seemed exhausted and Ali advanced and scored some fierce blows, that closed Frazier’s left eye and opened a cut above his right eye. He could barely see now as both his eyes were shut, but he kept on fighting. Ali dominated rounds 13th and 14th. Joe Frazier’s coach asked the fight to be stopped before the beginning of round 15, despite Frazier’s protests. Muhammad Ali won the match by TKO.

Reflecting on the fight, Ali said that this bout “was the closest thing to dying that I know”. He praised Joe Frazier as “the greatest fighter of all times next to me.”

Muhammad Ali fought Ken Norton for the third time on September 28, 1976, at Yankee Stadium, New York. Ali won the bout by a unanimous decision but it was a fiercely competed fight and the audience booed at the decision by the judges. Soon after, Ali announced his retirement from boxing, to practice his faith. However, he came out of retirement in May 1977 to fight the Uruguay boxer, Alfredo Evangelista. Ali won the fight after 15 rounds by a unanimous decision. Later that year he fought Earnie Shavers and won that fight too. Ali’s professional boxing record now stood at 57 bouts, 55 wins, and 2 losses.

Ferdie Pacheo, Ali’s longtime doctor was concerned with Ali’s condition, especially after his bout with Earnie Shavers. He reported that Ali’s kidneys were not working perfectly and advised Ali to consider retirement. He tried to convince Ali’s trainer, his wife and Ali himself but was ignored. Pacheo decided that enough was enough and called it quits.

Next year, on February 15, 1978, a fight was scheduled with Leon Spinks at Hilton Hotels, Las Vegas. Spinks, who started his professional boxing career in 1977, only had seven professional fights to his name out of which he won 6 and drew one. Ali took it lightly and didn’t do much training or preparations prior to the fight. Ali lost the match to Leon Spinks by a split decision, resulting in his third ever loss. He also lost the heavyweight champion title. On September 15, 1978, another match was set between Ali and Spinks at Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ali won the fight by a unanimous decision and regained the title for the heavyweight champion. Ali became to first boxer ever to win the heavyweight championship belt, three times. Again, Ali announced his retirement from the sport, on July 27, 1979, with 56 wins and 3 losses under his name.

Muhammad Ali desired to be the first boxer to win the heavyweight championship for the unprecedented fourth time. So he announced his comeback to fight Larry Holmes for the title. Ali was though, really out of shape. He had been taking thyroid medication to lose weight. He also started struggling with vocal stuttering and trembling hands at this point. Boxing writer Richie Giachetti wrote “Larry didn’t want to fight Ali. He knew Ali had nothing left; he knew it would be a horror.”

The fight between Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes was set for October 2, 1980, at Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada. Larry dominated the fight since the first round. Angelo Dundee stepped in to stop the fight before the commencement of 11th round. Ali lost a match for the first time via stoppage. The fight was described by many as “awful”. Actor Sylvester Stallone who was at the ringside described the bout like watching an autopsy on a man who is still alive. This fight was later said to have contributed to Ali’s Parkinson’s disease.

Ali fought one last time against Canadian boxer, Trevor Berbick on December 11, 1981, which he lost after 10 rounds by a unanimous decision. In his last 4 bouts, Ali had lost 3 matches. At this moment, Ali was 39 years old and he decided to retire from the sport, once and for all. By the end of his career, Ali had absorbed more than 200,000 hits. His final professional record stood at 61 bouts, 56 wins, and 5 losses.

Conversion to Islam

Ali was aware of “Nation of Islam” (often referred to as Black Muslims) since 1959 when he was still an amateur boxing athlete. He first attended their conference in 1961 and kept on doing so until later, but decided not to publicize his involvement. However, when he decided to join the Nation of Islam, he was refused entry into the group due to his carrier in boxing. Things changed when he won the championship title from Liston in 1964. Nation of Islam was more than happy to have him aboard as a member. Soon after the fight, it was announced on a radio show by the leader of Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, that formerly known Cassius Clay would be renamed as Muhammad Ali.

Ali later announced that “Cassius Clay is my slave name”. Just to let Americans know him further, he added “I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”

Most of the white folks in America and some African American people use to consider Nation of Islam as a black separatists hate group who had the tendency to get violent. Muhammad Ali used his influence to spread Nation of Islam’s teachings. He said, “My enemy is the white people, not Viet Cong or Chinese or Japanese.”. When talking about integration, he said “We who follow the teachings of Elijah Muhammad don’t want to be forced to integrate. Integration is wrong. We don’t want to live with the white man; that’s all.” It was ironic, however, that while the Nation of Islam considered white people as some sort of devils, Ali on other hand had more white colleagues than any African American man, during those times. And he continued to have great relations with them, throughout his career.

In 1972, Ali went on to Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca where he met people of different colors from around the World. Here he gained different perspective and outlook towards life and gained much spiritual awareness. In 1977, he said that when he retires, he will dedicate rest of life to getting “ready to meet God” by helping people, charitable causes, uniting people and helping to make peace.

Later in his life, Muhammad Ali started developing an interest in Sufism, after reading the books of Inayat Khan. In the year 2005, he converted into Sufi Islam as he felt that was most inclined to Sufism teachings out of all Islamic sects. However, a few years later, the traditional Sunni-Sufis criticized the teachings of Inayat Khan as being contradictory to the true teachings of Sunni Islam. Ali then distanced himself from Inayat Khan’s teachings and instead sought guidance from various Sunni-Sufi scholars such as Grand Mufti of Syria Almarhum Asy-Syaikh Ahmed Kuftaro, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, Imam Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, and Dr. Timothy J. Gianotti.

Dr. Timothy J. Gianotti was at Muhammad Ali’s bedside throughout his last days and also assured that Ali’s funeral was in accordance with Islamic rites and customs.

Personal Life

Muhammad Ali was married four times. He had 9 children – seven daughters and two sons.

Ali met Sonji Roy who was a cocktail waitress and asked her to marry him on the very first date. A month later, on August 14, 1964, they got married. However, soon they started quarreling a lot. Specifically, as Sonji would not accept the Nation of Islam’s dress codes and customs. She also questioned the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. Their marriage failed and they got divorced on January 10, 1966. They did not have any children. Reflecting on the failed marriage, Ali said “She wouldn’t do what she was supposed to do. She wore lipstick; she went into bars; she dressed in clothes that were revealing and didn’t look right.”.

Ali got married for the second time to a 17-year-old girl named Belinda Boyd on August 17, 1967. Soon after the wedding, Belinda got converted to Islam, just like Ali. She officially changed her name to Khalilah Ali. Together they had four children. Maryum (born 1968), twins Jamillah and Rasheda (born 1970), and Muhammad Ali Jr. (born 1972).

Ali was still married to Khalilah Ali when he began an illicit extramarital affair with a 16-year-old, Wanda Bolton. They together had a daughter named Khaliah (born 1974). Wanda Bolton subsequently changed her name to Aaisha Ali. Muhammad Ali married Aaisha Ali as per Islamic rituals, but their marriage was legally not recognized as he was still married to Khalilah Ali (Belinda Boyd). Ali had fathered another daughter, Miya (born 1972), from an extramarital affair with Patricia Harvell.

In 1977, Muhammad Ali and Khalilah Ali got divorced. At this time, Ali was openly seen in public with his girlfriend, Veronica Porché, who became his third wife. At the time of their marriage, they already had a baby girl named Hana, and Veronica was pregnant with their second child, Laila Ali. Laila went on to follow Muhammad Ali footsteps and became a boxing champion, and remained undefeated throughout her career. Veronica Porché and Muhammad Ali separated in 1986.

On November 19, 1986, Muhammad Ali married his fourth and final wife, Yolanda (“Lonnie”) Williams. Ali and Lonnie had been friends since 1964. Ali was 21 years old and Lonnie was six years old when they first met. Their mothers lived on the same street in Louisville and were best friends. After their marriage, they decided to adopt a five-month-old son, Asaad Amin. They remained married until Muhammad Ali’s death in the year 2016.

Muhammad Ali Net Worth

By the time, Muhammad Ali retired, his total fight purse earnings were estimated to be approximately $70 million. However, in 1978, Ali confessed that he is broke and analysts scrutinized his net worth to be around $3.5 million. Analyst determined several factors that led to a decline in his wealth, like taxes which accounted for nearly half his income and the management that took a third of his income. The rest of the money he spent on his lavish lifestyle, on his family, religion, and charities.

In 2005, Muhammad Ali sold the rights to his name and image to Robert Sillerman for $50 million. After his death, his total wealth was evaluated to be around $60 to $80 million.

Philanthropy

Muhammad Ali was known for being a humanitarian and devoted much of his time to philanthropy, especially after his retirement. He focused on charities and good deeds as he considered it his Islamic duty. Over the years, he donated millions to charity organizations and disadvantaged people from all religious backgrounds. He supported the Special Olympics and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among many other organizations. It has been determined that Ali helped feed over 22 million people afflicted by hunger, across the entire world.

Ali’s work as a humanitarian and philanthropist knows no boundaries.

In 1974, Ali visited South Lebanon and declared his “support for the Palestinian struggle to liberate their homeland.”

After his loss to Leon Spinks in 1978, Ali went to Bangladesh where he was presented with an honorary citizenship. The same year, Ali participated in “The Longest Walk”, which was a protest march in the United States in support of Native American rights.

In 1989, Ali visited India, for a charity event for the Muslim Educational Society, along with the Bollywood actor, Dilip Kumar.

An year later, he traveled to Iraq, to meet Saddam Hussein, in an attempt to negotiate the freedom of American hostages, which Saddam willingly allowed.

In 1994, Ali appealed to the United States government to aid the refugees afflicted by the Rwandan genocide and also to donate towards the organizations that were helping Rwandan refugees.

Later in 1996, Ali had the honor to lit the Olympic cauldron at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1998, Ali collaborated with the actor, Michael J Fox, to raise awareness and fund research for the study and find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

In November 2002, Ali was elected by U.N. as their “messenger of peace” and was sent to Afghanistan for a three-day goodwill mission.

In 2012, he was presented the “Philadelphia Liberty Medal” in honor of his lifetime efforts in activism, philanthropy, and humanitarianism.

Parkinson’s Disease

In the year 1984, Muhammad Ali announced that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over the years. Ali remained positive and active during his progression with Parkinson’s disease and the onset of spinal stenosis. He established and inaugurated Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona and raised funds for the same to create awareness and to find the cure. Just a few years before his death, Ali underwent surgery for spinal stenosis, a condition that was responsible for limiting his mobility and restricting his ability to communicate.

Muhammad Ali Death & Memorial

Muhammad Ali was admitted in hospital for a mild case of pneumonia on On December 20, 2014. He was once again admitted to hospital on January 15, 2015, for a severe urinary tract infection, but was released the next day.

On June 2, 2016, Ali was again hospitalized in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona, due to respiratory illness. His condition was initially described as “not serious”, but it worsened over a few hours. Muhammad Ali passed away the next day in the hospital on June 3, 3016. At the age of 74.

Muhammad Ali along with Dr. Timothy J. Gianotti and other Islamic scholars had preplanned his memorial many years prior to his death. In Ali’s words, he wanted to be “inclusive of everyone, where we give as many people an opportunity that wants to pay their respects to me”.

The memorial service commenced in Louisville on June 9, 2016, with an Islamic Janazah prayer service, at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

On June 10, 2016, the funeral procession traveled around 20 miles in the streets of Louisville, Kentucky, passing by Muhammad Ali’s childhood home, his school, his first gym, and the Muhammad Ali Boulevard. Thousands of people gathered on the streets and tossed flowers on to his hearse and cheered his name. The procession ended at Cave Hill Cemetery, where Ali was interred in a private ceremony including only his family and friends.

Later in the day, a public memorial service was held at Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center. The pallbearers included Will Smith, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, George Chuvalo, Larry Holmes and George Foreman. Over 20,000 people attended the memorial service, and an estimated 1 billion viewers across the world watched the broadcast.

Religious leaders of various faiths, along with Attallah Shabazz, Bryant Gumbel, former President Bill Clinton, Billy Crystal were the chief speakers. Muhammad Ali’s daughters Maryum and Rasheda and widow Lonnie Williams also spoke at the memorial service.

Lonnie said, “Muhammad indicated that when the end came for him, he wanted us to use his life and his death as a teaching moment for young people, for his country and for the world. She added “In effect, he wanted us to remind people who are suffering that he had seen the face of injustice. That he grew up during segregation, and that during his early life he was not free to be who he wanted to be. But he never became embittered enough to quit or to engage in violence.”

Muhammad Ali, nicknamed “The Greatest”, was not only the best at his athletic skills, but he also showed the world, his courage to stand up against any challenges (whether political or social) and his willingness to speak his mind. He will always be remembered as the best boxing champion, there ever was.


Phillip Joel Hughes Biography

Posted On March 29th, 2015 By Celebrity Biographies

Phillip Joel Hughes Biography

Phillip Joel Hughes

Phillip Joel Hughes was a tremendous Australian cricketer who shot into fame at a very young age.  He was a left handed batsmen and represented Australian team in both Test matches and One Day International. He also played domestic cricket for Worcestershire and South Australia. Phillip Hughes was a left handed opening batsmen who was drafted into Australia’s playing eleven and made his test debut in 2009, when he was merely 20 years old.

It was the tour of South Africa, just after the legendary Australian batsmen, Matthew Hayden announced his retirement, that Phillip Hughes was announced as his replacement. Facing the fiery pace of South African bowlers, Phillip got out on 0 (duck) in the very first inning he played, but came out strongly on top with his 75 in the next inning. it was no mighty feat, but the best was yet to come. The second match took place in Durban and Phillip Hughes scored a century in both of the innings. He scored 115 in the first inning, thus becoming Australia’s youngest centurion in Test match history. In the second inning he scored a 160 and he shot into fame overnight, becoming the youngest ever international player to achieve this feat of two centuries in consecutive innings of a match. This was the sign of a promising career to follow from a talented left handed batsmen.

In 2013, Phillip Hughes got a chance to play for Australia against Sri Lanka in One Day International cricket in Melbourne. He scored a fine century smashing Sri Lankan bowlers across the park in this ODI debut, another feat that not many have achieved. He did have some highs and lows in his career but his talent was noticed worldwide and he achieved lot of respect for the same.

On 25th November 2014, Phillip Hughes was playing Sheffield Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In a cruel twist of fate, Hughes was hit on the lower neck, by a bouncer bowled by Australian bowler Sean Abbott. Phillip immediately collapsed face first on the ground. He was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney where it was found that the blow by cricket ball has caused vertebral artery dissection that led to a subarachnoid hemorrhage. He had to undergo an emergency surgery and was later placed in an induced coma in the Intensive Care Unit. However Phillip never regained consciousness and was declared dead on 27th November 2014, three days shy of his 26th birthday.

Australia won the following Cricket World Cup in 2015, which took place in month of February-March at Australia and New Zealand.  The then Australian cricket captain, Michael Clarke, dedicated this World Cup to Phillip Joel Hughes.

Early Life & Cricket Career

Phillip Joel Hughes was born on 30th November 1988 in Macksville, New South Wales, Australia. He was born to father Greg and an Italian mother, Virginia. Phillip played junior cricket for Macksville RSL Cricket Club where he outshone others so quickly, that he was playing A Grade cricket at age of 12. He was a talented Rugby player as well. But his interests lied in cricket. Five years later, he moved to Sydney and started playing for Western Suburbs District Cricket Club in Sydney Grade Cricket. He scored a century on his grade debut, scoring 141* not out. He amassed 752 runs in the season of 2006-07 at an average of 35.81 with a highest score of 142* not out. Soon after, Phillip Hughes played on a world level when he represented Australia in the Under-19 ICC Cricket World Cup of 2008.

After scoring lot of runs for New South Wales junior cricket team, followed by Western Suburbs Grade cricket, Phillip was offered a rookie contract by New South Wales for the year 2007-08 season. On 20th November 2007, he played his debut first class game against Tasmania at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). He scored  a fiery 51 along with two catches to start his glorious season for New South Wales. He was soon upgraded to a full state contract by New South Wales, when he helped his team win the Pura Cup, after he scored a match winning 116 of 175 balls. He was 19 years old at this time and he became the youngest player to make a century in Sheffield Shield final. He won the New South Wales Rising Star” award for his achievements.

Phillip Hughes was signed by Middlesex, soon after for the English county cricket season of 2009. Although it was a short term contract, but that didn’t dampen his spirits or performance by any means. He scored a total of 574 in his three first-class matches at an impressive massive average of 143.50.

In 2010-11, Phillip Hughes scored back to back century for New South Wales. His score in the two matches were, 54, 115, 138 and 93. A super impressive performance that made him the most potential replacement for Matthew Hayden, who was the star opening batsman for Australia International cricket team at that time.

On 26th February 2009, Phillip Hughes was called in to replace Matthew Hayden, as the opening batsman for Australia. His first match was against South Africa and was set at the New Wanderers Stadium at Johannesburg, South Africa. Dale Steyn, one of the finest bowlers of the era, took his wicket on the very fourth ball of the match. He got out for a duck on his international debut. But he came back strongly to score 75 in the second innings with the help of 11 fours and 1 six.

On 6th March 2009, the second test match was set at Sahara Stadium in Kingsmead, Durban. Hughes went onto score a fine hundred in the first innings and then another hundred in the second innings as well. Thus becoming the youngest cricketer ever to score a century in both innings. He was 20 years and 96 days old at that time. Upon his return from this South Africa tour, Macksville, his hometown cricket club, announced a “Phillip Hughes Award”, which was to be awarded every year to the most promising young cricketer from the district of Macksville.

After this period, Phillip Hughes had highs and lows in his career. He was often dropped from the team and replaced by Shane Watson, who opened the batting for Australia and also provided an extra bowling option. He played against Pakistan, England in the Ashes, and New Zealand in the year 2009-2010, but his performances were not very consistent and he was usually added in the team when someone got injured. The bowlers got better of him as they started to learn about his technique and Hughes was found short of runs and form. His inconsistency led him off the international team and back into first class cricket.

He was playing for Worcestershire on the English County Cricket, when Hughes made much needed efforts to change his batting technique and that resulted in more strokes in his batting armory. Soon after he left his home state, New South Wales and started playing for South Australia. His started accumulating runs again in the Sheffield Shield and also in the Ryobi Cup. With his new found form, he was recalled to the Australian Cricket Team to play test match against Sri Lanka at Hobart in December 2012. It was the retirement of Ricky Ponting, that led to his place in the playing eleven. Hughes didn’t disappoint as he scored quick 86 in that match, batting at number 3. With the new found confidence, he amassed a total of 233 runs at an average of 46.60, including two half centuries. He quickly cemented his place at number 3 in the Australian side and was set to receive a $1 million contract from Cricket Australia.

In the end of 2012/13 summer, in lieu of Michael Hussey’s retirement, Phillip Hughes was picked for Australia’s ODI Team as well as the T20 team. His place was confirmed in all three forms of cricket on 6th January 2013.  On his ODI debut against Sri Lanka, Hughes scored 112 off 129 balls before he was dismissed by Lasith Malinga. In the fifth match of the same series, Hughes scored a match winning knock scoring 138* not out off 154 balls. His stint however came to end when he scored only 147 runs in eight innings at the average of 18.37, in the series against India. He was picked for the Ashes 2013, but was dropped after two test matched because of his lack of form. That was the last test he ever played. He continued to play ODI for Australia against India, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Pakistan in the year 2013-14, and a single T20 match against Pakistan.

Personal Life

Not much has been shared about Phillip Hughes personal life. He was a great friend in particularly with teammate Michael Clarke, David Warner and the boxer Anthony Mundine. Family business was of banana farming. As mentioned before, Hughes was a good player of Rugby as well and he grew up with Macksville’s and Australia’s league rugby player, Greg Inglis.

In 2013 end, Hughes bought a huge land (nearly 220 acres) and some Aberdeen angus breed cattle, which is particularly used in beef production.

Death

On 25th November 2014, Phillip Hughes was batting for South Australia against New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield, when a bowl from New South Wales bowler, Sean Abbott hit Phil, right on the neck. He was wearing a helmet, but the bowl hit on the unprotected area beneath the ear. He collapsed almost immediately and was rushed to St. Vincent Hospital in Sydney. After analysis, Hughes injury was described as a rare but sports related injury. It was a blunt cerebrovascular injury called a vertebral artery dissection which led to subarachnoid haemorrhage. Unfortunately Hughes never regained consciousness and died on the morning of 27th November 2014. The Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, said “For a young life to be cut short playing our national game seems a shocking aberration. He was loved, admired and respected by his team-mates and by legions of cricket fans.”

Phillip Hughes funeral was held on 3rd December 2014 at his Macksville High School. Thousand of people followed the service at Macksville via news on televisions and social media like Facebook and Twitter.

On 29th March 2015, Australia won the ICC Cricket World Cup and dedicated the victory to Phillip Joel Hughes. Cricket Australia has also retired Australia’s ODI Jersey number 64, in remembrance of Phillip Hughes.


Michael Jordan Biography

Posted On September 20th, 2011 By Celebrity Biographies

Michael Jordan Biography

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, a basketball superstar, happens to be one of the most popular, successful and wealthiest athletes in professional, college and Olympic sports history.

Childhood

Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York on 17th February, 1963. He was one of the five children to Deloris and James Jordan. At the time when Michael was very young, the family migrated to Wilmington, where his father worked as a supervisor at the General Electric Plant, whereas his mother worked at a bank. His parents taught him to lead a respectable life since childhood. Although being good at sports, as a sophomore, Michael could not make it to the school basketball team. He later made it to the team after a year and won a basketball scholarship in the University of North Carolina. Dean Smith coached him at the University. After his session at the University, he was named the “college player” for two consecutive years by the “Sporting News”. After the junior years, he left North Carolina and was picked by the Chicago Bulls of NBA (National Basketball Association).

Early Years

At the time when Michael Jordan joined Chicago Bulls, they had only 6000 fans for the home game and were a losing side quite often. However, with his competitive spirit and style of play, he turned the tables for Chicago Bulls. He gained a lot of popularity amongst the fans for his hang time and leaping ability. He was honored as the “Rookie” of the league and was also called to the “All-Star” team. During this time, he was sidelined for 64 games because of a broken foot, however when he returned, he set a NBA playoff record of 63 points.

The next season during 1986-87 happened to be one of the most successful years in Jordan’s career. He received 1.5 million votes and started playing the “All-Star” game. After Wilt Chamberlain, he became the only player to score 3000 points in one single season. In 1988, Jordan started concentrating on improving his basketball skills and was titled as the “Most Defensive Player” in the same year. He was also honored as the “Most Valuable Player” of the league since he lead the league in stealing and scoring. Jordan was a part of the “Dream Team” in 1992 and took part in the Summer Olympic Games, held in Barcelona, Spain.

Business Life

Michael Jordan led a successful life as a businessman as well. He was a part of the profitable endorsements such as Wheaties and Nike. He owned a reputed golf company and introduced various products in the market. The Michael Jordan Cologne reportedly sold more than 1.5 million bottles within the 60 days of its release. Such a venture made him a multimillionaire instantly. On the other hand, he signed a $30 million contract in 1997 and it made him the highest paid athlete in the world. He also grabbed $40 million as endorsement fees during this year.


Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar Biography

Posted On March 7th, 2011 By Celebrity Biographies

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is considered to be one of the finest players in the Indian Cricket Team. In addition, he is regarded as one of the greatest batsman of all times. Wisden, the renowned magazine for Cricket, ranked him as the second greatest Test Cricket Batsman, right after Sir Donald Bradman in 2002. After Viv Richards, the magazine also ranked him as the second greatest batsman for One Day International (ODI).

Early Life

Sachin Tendulkar was born in Mumbai, India on 24th April, 1973. His father, Ramesh Tendulkar, was a Marathi novelist. His elder brother, Ajit Tendulkar, encouraged him to play cricket. While studying at Sharadashram Vidya Mandir, Sachin started playing cricket at a very early age. Under the strict guidance of his coach named Ramakant Achrekar, Sachin mastered the basics of this game. Later on, he showed his prowess in the game and was selected in the Indian team along with his school mate Vinod Kambli.

International Debut

In 1989, Sachin Tendulkar made his first Test cricket appearance in a match against Pakistan in Karachi. In the same match, another player from Pakistan made his debut, called Waqar Younis. Sachin scored 15 runs in the match and was soon bowled out by Younis. On 18th December, 1989, he made his first ODI appearance against Pakistan at Gujranwala. He could not score a run in this match and was caught by Wasim Akram after facing a Waqar Younis ball.

Accolades

Sachin Tendulkar is known as the “Little Master” by his contemporaries. The leg spinner from Australia, Shane Warne, addressed Sachin as one of the greatest players of all times. In addition, Sachin is the only one from the current generation of players, who made it to the dream team formed by Sir Donald Bradman. At the moment, Sachin Tendulkar is credited with scoring the highest number of runs in ODI and Test Cricket. Also, he has scored the highest number of centuries in both forms of cricket. He happens to be the first player to score more than 10000 runs in ODI cricket. For his services to India in the field of sports, he is awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and the Padma Vibhushan Award.

Sachin Tendulkar has shown some of his best batting performances against Australia, supposedly the best team in the world. He scored his first test century at the age of 17 and he had scored 16 centuries by the time he was 25 years old. He surpassed Brian Lara and emerged as the biggest Test scorer in 2008.

Captaincy

Sachin Tendulkar was appointed as the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team, twice in his international career; however none of the trials turned out to be successful enough. In addition, the pressure of captaincy suppressed his skills as a batsman.

For many, Sachin Tendulkar is a true gentleman and a brand amabassador of Cricket. And such is the humbleness and grace of Sachin Tendulkar, that many people do worship him as a God of Cricket! Sachin Tendulkar has the maximum records in Cricket history including “Most runs in a single inning (ODI)” and Highest Total runs both in ODI and Test Matches. He also has number of centuries in both formats of game!


Pele Biography

Posted On December 1st, 2010 By Celebrity Biographies

Edson Arantes do Nascimento

Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento)

Pele is one of the greatest soccer players ever. In his career, he has scored over 1200 goals, including several World Club, World Cup Championships and has covered 1360 games. This automatically translates to one goal per game.

Early Life

Pele was born as Edson Arantes do Nascimento on  23rd of October 1940. He happens to be the son of Dondinho (a Fluminense footballer) and his mother was Maria Celeste Arantes. His parents named him after Thomas Edison, the American inventor, however in order to create a unique name; his parents removed the “I” from the name and called him ‘Edson’. As the reports suggest, there seems to be a mistake on his documents, including the birth certificate and shows his name as “Edison”. His family originally nicknamed him as “Dico”. He received the name “Pele” only once he reached school, where the name was given to him according to the way he pronounced the name of his favourite player, Bilé. If we were to read his autobiography, Pele says that he had no idea how he got the name or what it meant. The only thing he knew that it was Hebrew for miracle and the word seemed to have no meaning in Portuguese.

Pele was brought up in Bauru, São Paulo and lived his life in poverty. He made some extra money while working as a servant in various tea shops. As a child, he could not afford proper football and was found playing with a sock filled with newspaper or a grapefruit tied with a string. When he turned 15, he later joined the junior team of Santos FC. Prior to joining the senior team, he played in the junior club for one season.

While his time at Santos, Pele got an opportunity to play along some of the gifted players of the time including Coutinho, Pepe and Zito. On 7th September 1956, Pelé made his debut for the Santos team and scored one goal against Corinthians. In the season of 1957, he was selected in a starting place and then he became the top scorer in the league, at the age of 16.

Personal Life

In 1966, Pele was married to Rosemarie Cholby, however they ended up being divorced in 1978. He later married a psychologist called Assiria Seixas Lemos. He had three children out of his first marriage.

Soccer Career
On July 7, 1957, Pele was asked to be a part of the national team of Brazil. He played his first international match against Argentina, in which he scored the first ever goal for his country. He then played his first international match against USSR in the World Cup of 1958. Pele happened to be the youngest player of the tournament and scored his first goal in the quarter finals against Wales. This was the deciding goal of the match, which took Brazil into the semi-finals. At just 17 years, Pele became the youngest player to score a World Cup goal on June 19, 1958. One of the goals that he scored in this World Cup is still considered to be one of the best goals in the history of soccer.

While Pele was still in the team, Brazil won three World Cups championships of 1962, 1966 as well as 1970. As soon as the 1962 World Cup ended, a few of the wealthiest European clubs wanted to sign Pele; however Brazil then declared him as the “national treasure” of the country.

On November 19th, 1969, pele scored the 1000th goal, which is now known as the “O Milesimo”. According to him, the goal that he scored against Sao Paulo at the Rua Javari stadium in 1959 happens to be the greatest goal of his life. Pele scored a “gol de placa” in March 1961. This goal was so impressive that it is still being remembered as the most beautiful goal. As far as the history is concerned, one of the most significant moments were when the Nigerian Civil War declared a ceasefire for 48 hours, just to watch Pele in an exhibition match.

On July 18th, 1971, Pele played his final international match in Rio de Janeiro against Yugoslavia.

After Soccer

Jose Alves de Araujo, a long time friend of Pele owns a company called Prime Licensing. This company is responsible for maintaining Pele’s brand along with his existing contracts including Pele L’uomo, Puma AG, Fremantle Media, Pelestation, QVC along with Pele Arena coffee places. Pele is active with his ambassadorial work for several organisations across the world. He was appointed as the UN ambassador for environment and ecology, in the year 1992. He was appointed as “Extraordinary Minister for Sport” in 1995 and was also the recipient of the Brazil’s Gold Medal. Later on he also served as the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. He took active steps to eliminate corruption within the Brazil football that was later referred to as the “Pele Law”. In 1997, he was honoured as the “knight” in the British Empire.

He has worked on several autobiographies, documentaries and semi-documentaries, along with a few musicals. Pelé was brought in as the Honorary President on August 1st, 2010 to revive the team “New York Cosmos”, so as to prepare them for the Major League Soccer.


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