The Sole Reason Ali’s Deified While Tiger’s Reviled

Before the Olbermann v. Simmons thing asploded recently, I was asked during an interview for an upcoming E! television special on Tiger Woods to compare the celebrity of Woods to Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods

(’Champ, seen my waffle iron?)

I said Ali was the only enduring, authentic worldwide sports celebrity we’ll ever know1. His phenomena was just recent enough to benefit from technology-wrought global interconnectivity while missing sports as an end-all for hawking washing machines.

Today, the acknowledged reason Nike is in the golf business is its association with Tiger Woods. If Nike was around for Ali’s emergence, it’d be in the boxing biz.

With Woods (and Michael Jordan) as our guide, had Phil Knight fired up the waffle iron 20 years earlier, there’d be no Olbermann-Simmons debate.

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