Black News and News Makers in History: Ahmad Rashad

African American news from Pasadena - Black News and News Makers in History - recognizes Ahmad Rashad this week in Black historyAhmad Rashad, born Bobby Moore, November 19, 1949, in Portland, Oregon, the youngest of six children to Condola (domestic housekeeper) and O. C. Moore (barber and shoeshinerat the Fort Lewis military base). He was raised in Tacoma Washington and graduated from Mt. Tacoma High School, 1964-68.

Growing up in Tacoma, there were moments he experienced racism, usually from the transient military personnel, but also from some school coaches. His childhood was also marred by a mysterious skin disease that required regular doctor visits, experimental treatments, cuttings, elixirs, even spiritual anointing as daily care for years. Faith healers at periodic revival meetings also laid their hands on him in the hopes of ridding him of raisin-like bump on his ears. Throughout his elementary schooling, he was called names due to the bumps—until the end of junior high when the bumps disappeared.

Religion was a part of life in Tacoma. He was raised in the Pentecostal faith and spent a good deal of time in church throughout each week. He found solace from the teasing at church and at the Boys Club where he enjoyed the gym and pool and got involved in basketball and football.

A game-breaking pass receiver known for his dancing fakes and trademark leaps, began his football career in the late 1960s as a 220-pound All-American running back at the University of Oregon. At Oregon he caught passes with future NFL All-Pro quarterback Dan Fouts and was a Heisman Trophy candidate his senior year, after setting team records in most yards rushing, most receptions, and most points scored.

But it was his attempt to make the basketball team as a freshman sporting an Afro (once again) that first made national news for this quiet but atypical athlete. Bucking the athletic director's policy stirred a campus-wide debate and raised Ahmad's black consciousness.

He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1972. He took his Muslim name, which means "Admirable One Led to Truth," after his adult conversion in 1973. He saw his conversion to the Muslim faith as just another development of the spiritual man within. "This is what I'm about. I'm a real person, not Bobby Moore, football player, but Ahmad Rashad, a man who believes in fairness, in truth, and in life." he stated in his autobiography.

Rashad spent eleven seasons in the National Football League, 1972-1982. He was a first-round draft choice of the St. Louis Football Cardinals in 1972. He went on to play for Buffalo and Seattle before settling in Minnesota in 1976 and playing the next seven seasons for the Vikings. He held the Viking career reception lead (400) and be second in reception yardage. Overall, he had 495 receptions in ten seasons.

He will always be remembered for is "the Miracle Catch." This one went for a 50-yard completion from Fran Tarkenton after it bounced off five other receivers and defenders-- and after time had expired on the clock. That desperation pass and catch defeated the Cleveland Browns and gave the Vikings the NFC Central Division title in 1980.

Since leaving professional football due to a season-end injury, he has become a television sports commentator.

Not only has he continued as an excellent football commentator, he has branched out to cover the Olympics, tennis tournaments, the NBA finals, and feature interviews. In his 16 years as a sports commentator for NBC, Ahmad has scored big with his low-key style, his impish smile, and his engaging, good-guy personality.

His professional football career outline: St. Louis Cardinals, 1972-73; Buffalo Bills, 1974-76; Seattle Seahawks, 1976; Minnesota Vikings, 1976-82; sportscaster, NBC, 1982--.

He authored the book, "Rashad: Vikes, Mikes, and Something on the Backside," with Peter Bodo, published by Viking Press in 1988.

His personal life includes marriages and children: Dierdre Waters, 1969; later divorced; married Phylicia Ayers-Allen, December 14, 1985; children, Keva (b. 1970), Maiysha (b. 1974), Ahmad Jr. (b. 1978), Condola Phylea (b. 1987).

Bill Cosby earned his "Father Knows Best" TV image by his real-life matchmaking skills, especially with Ahmad and Phylicia. After Ahmad asked Cosby to introduce him to Phylicia, Cosby did so in 1985. Ahmad surprised her with a Thanksgiving Day pre-game marriage proposal in front of 40,000,000 fans. Within a short while Cosby gave away the bride at the landmark Church of the Master in Harlem. O. J. Simpson, Rashad's teammate from Buffalo and NBC broadcast partner, was "best man." Phylicia's sister, Debbie Allen, was matron of honor.

Since retiring from football, he continues to workout daily by running, jogging and doing power sprints, moderate weight training, and intense tennis. He eats a healthy diet.

His awards include being a four-time All-Pro nominee, playing in National Football League's Pro Bowl (All-Star) Team, 1979; being named to National Football Conference (NFC) All-Star team by the Sporting News, 1978, '79; being inducted into University of Oregon Hall of Fame, 1987; and winning a Sports Emmy from "InSport," 1990.

He has been featured in periodicals and magazines that include the Atlanta Constitution, Ebony, Essence, Men's Health, New York Times, People Weekly, USA Today, and the Washington Post.

Compiled from http://www.answers.com/topic/ahmad-rashad, http://www.filmreference.com/film/22/Ahmad-Rashad.html, and http://www.anothershadeofcolor.com.

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