Once upon a time (long ago to some of you and 1,000,000 faces ago for John Ed Bon Fed the caricaturist) as the continuing struggle of life played on, a budding sports illustrator drew.
"I see. I saw . I draw!" he'd exclaim!!
He took into his mighty hand the quill of an eagle (this being consistent with a revolutionary residing in Philadelphia), dipped it in ink and let it fly! Actually - it was more like a peck, peck. Regardless of the many varied noises his pen made, the result was called "Illustrations of a Lifetime" which you can see on the walls before you.
His first inked illustration ever was The Greatest. It remembers the story of one man with two lives: Cassius Marcellus Clay, who can be seen at the bottom looking up the staircase of his promising career- and Muhammad Ali, who is seen at the bottom of the illustration looking down on his career to the ring where so many battles took place. Such a playful personality drew the young artist to the beauty of movement and savagery of the sport.
Somehow he made the historically corrupt sport of pugilism fun. Years later at the Spinks vs. Tyson fight in Atlantic City, young Bon Fed met Ali (who at that time was already silenced by Parkinson's disease) in Trump Plaza and showed off his work to him.
"This drawing started the day after Leon Spinks beat you, Muhammad. I remember crying in my girlfriend's arms that night. You looked down from your stool as the memories filled hearts and minds of those that love you. I drew that first drawing in the quick marker style of Leroy Neiman, who was an early influence. Everything else was rooted above that color rencdering of you on your stool, defeated. It is my first and most favorite- and the Greatest drawing of my young career" Bon Fed said. "I can now die in peace", he added. Ali looked up from the picture and grabbed a pen, smiled and signed both names to the robes drawn below. It was a gesture of thanks and one that could not be done today (because "GOAT-The Greatest of All Time Inc." owns his licensing rights and refuses to allow Muhammad to sign anything "Cassius Clay" anymore).
This piece was completed in 1908. Signed in 1989.