Everyone knows who is on this magazine cover: “The Greatest”
Most would agree with that statement now. (Who can forget the chills-down-your-spine moment [5:30 into video] when Ali was the surprise athlete to light the Olympic flame in 1996?!)
But there was a time when Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali was vilified for his refusal to be inducted into the U.S. Army because of his religious beliefs. (Ali, convicted violating the Selective Service Act, was barred from the ring and stripped of his title.)
I was reminded of this moment when the American Society of Magazine Editors named this Esquire cover, art directed by George Lois, as the Number 3 Best Magazine cover during the past 40 years. (Go here to see all 40!)
The cover shows the boxer martyred as St. Sebastian, a patron saint of athletes and one who was shot with arrows for his steadfast religious beliefs.
Rightly or wrongly, Ali took a stand for his beliefs…risking his entire career and future… And yet, in the long run, we still all know him as The Greatest.
What matters most to you? Short-term wins? Bonuses? Looking good?
Or long-term values that could possibly put those other things at risk?