I’ve met a lot of professional athletes. It’s my business. Once in awhile, I meet someone who is unique. Not because of their skill, fame nor money. But because of who they are, as a human being. Recently, I met a young man named Malcolm McAllister, and had the privilege to step into his life. He came to my studio and watched me work. He listened carefully as I explained little details on how I create clothing. We sat together and he told me stories about his path, and his love for boxing. I was impressed with his intelligence, humor, and humble attitude. He appreciates his friends. He loves his Mother. So I decided to sponsor Malcolm, and create garments for him to help him on his quest to become a boxing champion.
The following week, I visited him at Jackrbbit Gym in Long Beach and watched him train. I wanted to see how the garments I made for him fit and performed. He was weak from dropping weight for his upcoming fight. As he sparred, he threw very few punches. Instead, he was working on absorbing and dodging shots, with a sense of calm. It was an amazing experience, watching him work, watching him dedicated to becoming something greater than he was yesterday.
A few days later, I came back to the gym, with my photographer, Chris. It was just four days before his upcoming televised fight. This sparring session, he was unloading with power, letting his spirit flow, lifting his trainer off the floor, as he was catching the blows with big pads. After two hours of training, Malcolm spent the next two hours patiently working with us to catch photos of him in his gym – the place where he grows his spirit. When I told Chris we needed to stop so Malcom could rest, Malcolm told me, “No it’s fine – let’s keep going – it keeps my mind off of being hungry and thirsty.”
I watched Malcom’s fight at a sports bar in downtown Los Angeles. I was mesmerized by his speed, his power, his movement. The tv announcers were excited about his performance, as he dominated his opponent. With just two minutes left in the fight, everything looked great, as he cruised on towards certain victory. And then IT came. His opponent hit him with a massive left hook to the temple. And Malcom hit the canvas. As he struggled to stand up, his bleeding opponent saw his chance and pounced. Malcolm was dazed, he clung to his opponent – to hold himself up. The referee split them. He tried to throw a punch, but there was nothing there. His opponent continued to hit Malcolm with everything he had, trying to bring him down. But Malcom’s discipline, his sheer will, kept him moving in the ring, kept him standing, absorbing massive punches until the final bell sounded. Malcolm stood in his corner, still dazed, as he waited for the judges decision. He won, by unaminous decision. But Malcolm did not celebrate, did not yell nor scream in joy. Instead, he crossed the ring to the man who just leveled him, grabbed his opponents arm, raised it above his, and faced the cameras.
And I found that the things that I try to be in my life, are the things that Malcom McAllister lives everyday, with his entire being.
- Jonathan Oe, CEO, Leomicci