The “Bronze Bomber” – A Hometown Hero.
Deontay Wilder, a Tuscaloosa native – and the WBC Heavyweight Champion of the world, visited Birmingham, AL yesterday at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
The exclusive Meet & Greet, hosted by Alabama Media Group, began at 5:00pm and ended at 7:00pm. Dreamland BBQ catered the event.
Deontay arrived promptly, head down as he strolled in the building. My first thought, “soo, he’s not gonna say anything” Deontay eventually warmed up with the media getting it’s first round of questions out of the way.
A few minutes after the event began, a line formed. Mothers & fathers with their boys, a man who brought boxing gloves, and even an elderly couple all stood in line waiting on the champ to take pictures. Deontay was humble and kind-spirited, he joked with the kids and didn’t rush the elderly woman asking a thousand questions. One woman in particular was so excited, she almost cried. “You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting on this moment! I’ve wanted to go to a real boxing match and I finally get to in my own city!” She even pushed her husband out the way, so she could get a solo picture.
When the line shortened, I jumped in, hoping to get a quick picture and autograph, but the closer I got, the more nervous I got. I surprised myself, I’m never nervous. This is only the quickest picture ever, not a big deal right? Wrong….
Here’s a man who has “made it”. He came from humble beginnings, from the same city I’m from and is now the Heavyweight Champion of the World. That’s a pretty big deal. I can’t imagine the fire he’s ignited in the hearts of the little boys whose dreams have failed. This life he’s preparing for his family and the history he’s making. Someday, prayerfully, Deontay will return to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Not just for a meet & greet, but this time it’ll be for an induction ceremony.
While all these thoughts are running through my mind, I am overcome with an attitude of gratefulness. Grateful that I’m able to witness this moment and to be able to speak to someone who’s name will be in books that my future sons will read.
Right before the picture snapped, I had few moments to tell Deontay how proud of him I was, how happy I was that he decided to fight here, in Alabama, and how the entire city of Tuscaloosa was standing behind him. His response, “To God be the glory.” With that said, he’s definitely a hero in my book.
Tuscaloosa is standing behind our Hometown Hero! Deontay Wilder will fight opponent Eric Molina Saturday, June 13, 2015 at UAB’s Bartow Arena. The match will also air on Showtime.