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Remembering all the good times with my father
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Jesse McDonald III is my father.

In 1985, my father, along with my mother, Laverne, my younger brother, Mark and I moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to Norcross, Georgia for a better life.

I grew up listening to my father tell me tales of great sport stories during his days as a young adult of the 1960s and "70s.

My father taught me fearlessness.

My father would tell me about the greatest of all times - Muhammad Ali. He would share with me tales of how Ali would dance around the boxing ring hypnotizing his opponents as he floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. Yet, my father told me how Ali was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title in "67 for his conviction of refusing his induction into the U.S. Army because of his religious views (Muslim) during the Vietnam War. (The United States Supreme Court overturned Ali's conviction in "71.)

My father taught me courage.

My father would tell me about the New York Knicks Center, Willis Reed.

My father shared with me that during the "70 NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers tied the series with the Knicks at three games apiece to play a crucial seventh game at Madison Square Garden. Reed, the team leader, injured his leg in game sixth and was to sit-out for game seventh. Despite the pain, Reed walked out of the Knicks locker room onto the court and electrified the fans, helping the Knicks capture its first title.

My father taught me strength.

My father would share with me the stories of Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns.

My father and I talk for hours about the things that Brown has done that made him one of the greatest running backs in the history of the NFL. Before Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith, Brown was the all-time leading rusher; a Hall of Famer. My father loved to talk about how Brown showed no fear when he ran the ball. My father told me how Brown was very outspoken at a time when blacks didn't have a voice in sports in the "60s, and that Brown would try to incorporate other black athletes to invest and to help improve the lives of blacks in America.

There are so many stories I can share with you but that would take way too long to write. My father helps me mold my love for sports with a clearer perspective of how sports intertwine with social issues and character of the human spirit.

My father is a good man. He has been a chef for more than 30 years, and has been married to my mother for about the same time. He has a wonderful granddaughter named Markethia, who is entering high school next year. My father has nothing to complain about - he has a long way to go before he retires, and he wants to leave the restaurant and hotel industry with a bang.

Dad, I have a greater appreciation for you today, and I enjoy the times we talk about sports; it's a great thing.

And for all the times I drove you and Mom crazy for 36 years of my life, I just have six words to say to you:

I love you - Happy Father's Day!

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