When I first got into sports writing in 1983, I made a promise to never be intimidated by pro athletes.
So when I first saw New York Giants linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson sitting on stools with blood all over their uniforms in 1987 after a loss to the Dallas Cowboys, it was no big deal.
When I had a chance to cover the Dream Team in the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, it was great to be around Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson but not overwhelming.
Meeting Jim Brown in 1995 during the Browns' last season in Cleveland gave me some chills because Brown was bigger than the game itself.
But Muhammad Ali was bigger than life.
I never got a...