: News Article:
Bruins reflect on Tim Thomas
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02-10-2013, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: North of Boston
Originally Posted by
Bone for your jar
I don't disagree that the Boston sports journos had a double standard with regards to TT and the White House, but the point of comparison should be Theo Epstein (whose non-show went mostly unnoticed), not Muhammad Ali, for pete's sake.
Ali keeps getting brought up in relation to TT, but the comparison is ludicrous on so many levels. Ali (Clay)
in fact vilified by the mainstream media for his draft evasion on conscientious objector grounds, but that's hardly the entire price he paid. He was arrested, stripped of his title and license, and couldn't box for several years (four IIRC). He fought his case all the way to the Supreme Court. He was also a black man in an era of highly polarized racial tensions, a Nation of Islam convert, and, oh yeah, the single most famous athlete in the planet (quite possibly the single most famous name worldwide, period). What's more, he was not shy about expressing his opinions in any forum...quite the contrary.
I respect Thomas for expressing himself as a citizen as well as for the struggles he's had to overcome on his road to the summit of hockey, but you just can't compare him with Ali without simplifying reality to the point of falsehood, and without, in a sense, doing a disservice to both men. So please, let's keep Ali out of this.
I do wish TT well, am grateful for what he gave to this franchise, and hope Tuukka will clear the crease of Canucks and the like with as much bear-like ferocity!
Who brought up Ali? That was mine! I made that analogy a few months ago. Mostly to just piss people off, and illustrate some of the hypocrisy when it comes to the 1st amendment. No reasonable person would seriously compare what Ali went through in the 1960's, w/ the repercussions of outing yourself as a republican in Massachusetts in 2011. I mean, seriously.
However, there are some parallels in regard to their respective sports you may have overlooked. Subtract the politics, race, and civil rights element out of it, and you're left w/ a boxer who no one in their right mind believed could beat Sonny Liston. Ali, Clay as you call him, made the more menacing Liston, a man known to break bone w/ his power, quit on his stool like a chump in 6 rounds. Ali had the hand speed of a lightweight, and moved unlike any other 6'4" 220 pound heavyweight anyone had ever seen. Furthermore, fought w/ his guard low, daring opponents to try and hit him, counter punching from his hips, even dangerously pulling his head back from punches. Something that would get you thrown out of any boxing gym worth it's salt today, let alone the early 60's. Some would call the above unorthodox.
Thomas also had a unique, aggressive, and unorthodox approach to his sport. So much so, he was consistently passed over for the better part of his career for goalies w/ a more accepted, or conventional style. No one wanted to take a chance on a guy who broke all the rules. Calm down, obviously not comparable to refusing induction to the armed forces, but still out of TT's control. Yet, he was still a champion everywhere he played. No one in their right mind believed Tim Thomas was going to stick on any NHL roster as a starter, let alone win a Vezina trophy. But, he did, and he did it his way. When Tuukka took his job in 2010, most assumed we had already seen the best of Tim Thomas. Furthermore, it was even rumored at the 2010 trade deadline, that he (thankfully) exercised his NTC, turning down trades to both Washington, and Philadelphia. Many thought Ali was finished after losing to Frazier, then losing to a lightly regarded former Marine, Ken Norton. Therefore, absolutely no one thought he stood any chance of remaining vertical against the younger, more powerful, and seemingly unbeatable George Foreman. Wrong again, and Ali became champion for the 2nd time in his career.
Tim Thomas? Retook the starting job from Tuukka after being written off by most, putting up historic stats in both the regular season and playoffs, leading the Bruins to their first Cup in 39 years. Not to mention earning a Conn Smythe, and a second Vezina to boot. I'd say that made him the undisputed heavyweight champion of goaltenders, as well as underdogs.
Both were given a snowball's chance in hell.
Both had styles that made them profoundly unique in their sport.
Both were champions.
Both were continuously doubted throughout their careers.
Both, yes, benefited from the rope-a-dope.
Both had issues w/ the democratic party.
There's boxing fans that hate Ali to this day b/c of a myriad of things he did, and said, in and out of the ring. That's fine. People can have their hate I guess. He was certainly no saint. The same people who put him up on a pedestal like to forget some of the things he said a/b fellow African American, Joe Frazier. Some of which probably earned him the beating of his life at the very hands of Frazier. Some of his statements, on race, undoubtedly the good teachings from The Nation, put him right on par w/ any klansman. To me, those people are completely missing the plot. None of it changes the fact he was the most exciting fighter to watch in the ring to date. Lets not forget the greatest boxer who ever lived.
Also why we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King day, and not Muhammad Ali day. MLK was a leader, who btw supported Ali, but thank god, did not share in some of his views. Ironically enough, MLK wasn't a fan of the democrats, either. Ali was a boxer, albeit a boxer who transcended his sport through extraordinary courage outside of the ring. Thomas, isn't in his league in that department, so, poor comparison. In a perfect world, Ali would have been permitted to just be a boxer. Lets grant TT the courtesy we couldn't give Ali, and just let him be a goalie.
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