"It's so hard for me to sit back here in this studio, looking at a guy out here, hollering my name! When last year I spent more money, on spilled liquor, in bars from one side of this world to the other, than you made! You're talking to the Rolex-wearing, diamond ring-wearing, kiss stealing, whoa! wheelin' dealin', limousine-riding, jet-flying son of a gun and I'm having a hard time holding these alligators down!"
If you're walking through the airport and manage to bump into Al Pacino, you're not having an encounter with Michael Corleone. Or Scarface. Or the coach from Any Given Sunday. You're talking to an actor. A very talented actor… but still, an actor.
If you're walking through the airport and you bump into Ric Flair… you're bumping into Ric Flair! He'll have on a sport coat, a diamond ring, a rolex, and if he wanted to, he'd "wooo" your girl. He is the persona you see on TV. He's worked three decades to create and live that persona.
In 1985, Flair was the greatest heel in professional wrestling. He bragged of $800 shoes and $1600 sport coats because it was real. He talked of beautiful women riding "Space Mountain" and partying all night at the "downtown Marriott" because he did it.
In a world where the line between reality and make-believe is intentionally blurred, Flair erased the line completely. He was the guy you see on TV. He was Ric Flair. He was the man.
Last year, NFL cameras caught Sergio Brown and the Indianapolis Colts doing a Ric Flair-style celebration following a playoff victory.
Sergio Brown was born in 1988… The promo he was reciting aired in 1985.
Jim Harbaugh invited Ric Flair to Santa Clara to motivate the San Francisco 49ers a few years ago, then again invited him to Michigan for their big, "Signing of the Stars" event where he spoke alongside Tom Brady and Derek Jeter.
Just last week Ric Flair showed up at training camp and gave some love to Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons.
So what is it about this 67-year-old man from Memphis, Tenn. (he moved to Minnesota almost immediately and, despite popular belief, never lived in Charlotte, N.C. until he wrestled for the Mid-Atlantic territory) that can elicit a collective "wooo" from an entire NFL roster? What is about a man who was at the peak of his profession 25-30 years ago but can still get recognized anywhere in the country?
The answer is actually quite simple, especially when it comes to pro athletes. Think about it for a second…
When you think of an athlete, outside of their particular talent, what are the things you think of? Money? Women? Nice clothes? Nice cars? Non-stop parties?
Ric Flair is all those things. He was all those things in 1985. In 1995. In 2015. He hasn't slowed down a stop and seems to only inspire or motivate or whatever you want to call it, a different group of athletes each year.
Oh - there may be one other explanation. A far simpler one. Ric Flair may be the single greatest professional wrestler to ever live. And we all aspire to be the greatest at what we do.
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