GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 22

Poppy Joe By Mary ann Cooper photography By Jared Castaldi Still smokin’ after all these years T thirty-two grandchildren and greatgrandchildren gathered at the gym to celebrate GraNd’s tribute. he taxi ride from the StyliSh hotel where Joe Frazier lives to the stripped-down, shuttered gym where his name is carved into its stone façade is a tale of two cities. The Joe Frazier Gym, large for-sale signs peering out of every window, once the meeting place of the neighborhood’s young men who hoped to use their fists to fight their way out of poverty, is now a forgotten patch of Philadelphia. In the old days, “Smokin’ Joe” and his son Marvis were at the gym to teach these young men not only how to be great boxers but also how to be solid citizens. The gym was a shining example of “giving back,” and a venue from which to teach the Joe Frazier Creed that—faded and addressing an empty, cavernous space—is still posted on the wall: “We sacrifice because when we give something up, something will come back; we are disciplined because without discipline there is nothing.” It’s a bone-chilling, rainy day when I step out of the cab and into the gym, dark and bare—save for the boxing ring in the center of the room. Smokin’ Joe Frazier, dressed in black and wearing a black fedora, sits in a chair in front of the ring. He leans on a cane— not from ring injuries over the years but because he is recovering from back injuries caused by a car accident. I had a clear memory of Frazier, the solemn warrior and fierce competitor. Today, he’s relaxed, and smiling in anticipation of the gathering of his grandchildren for the GRAND cover shoot. Much of what has defined Joe Frazier has come from the louder voices of others, not from the soft-spoken Frazier himself. So, it’s a bit startling to encounter his great, engaging smile—a smile the world saw too little of as he fought his way to become an Olympic gold-medal winner (1964) and eventually the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion (196871). Expectedly, Frazier dominates the room with his laughter, amusing the visitors as well as himself by playfully shadowboxing and doing a (good) imitation of the late sportscaster Howard Cosell’s ringside play-by-play. Slowly, Frazier’s family files in, and quickly it becomes a genuine love fest. “Pop!” “Poppy!” are the greetings of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (he has 11, 26 and 6, respectively). Frazier embraces the girls and shakes hands 22 GRAND JUNE 2009 Click and connect to more resources instantly where you see this symbol: 

GRAND Magazine - June 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - June 2009

GRAND Magazine - June 2009
Contents
GRAND Central
Poppy Joe
A Whole New Ball Game
Happy Trails
Pool Safe
Running Together
Notes from the Peanut Gallery
Ask GRAND
Inspirations
Leaving a Legacy
Writing Small Moments
Resources
GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - intro
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - GRAND Magazine - June 2009
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Cover2
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 3
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 4
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 5
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 7
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 8
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 9
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 10
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 11
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 12
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - GRAND Central
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 14
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 15
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 16
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 17
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 18
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 19
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 20
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 21
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Poppy Joe
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 23
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 24
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 25
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - A Whole New Ball Game
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 27
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Happy Trails
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 29
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Pool Safe
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 31
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Running Together
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 33
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Notes from the Peanut Gallery
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 35
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 36
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 37
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Ask GRAND
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 39
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Inspirations
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 41
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Leaving a Legacy
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 43
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Writing Small Moments
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 45
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 46
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Resources
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 48
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 49
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 51
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 52
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - 53
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Cover3
GRAND Magazine - June 2009 - Cover4
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