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Arthur Ashe Esay Contest

August 10, 2006 09:22 AM


Why is Arthur Ashe a Legend?

Because Arthur Ashe was a believer

By Frank O. Baez


Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr. was a believer. It began when he was seven years old growing up in a segregated Richmond, Virginia. According to society 50 or 60 years ago, greatness was out of the question for an African American. But apparently Arthur was not informed because that was exactly what he achieved. He played tennis, basketball and football. He won state championship and received a college scholarship in 1963. That same year he was selected to play in the U. S. Davis Cup team. He made history becoming the first African American to attain that goal. In 1968 he won the U.S. Open, in 1970 the Australian Open, and in 1975 Wimbledon. In all, Arthur won 33 professional titles.

He also won games off the courts. When he was denied a visa in South Africa trying to prevent him from playing the South African Open, he used his voice to reveal the unfairness. He disagreed with the NCAA because he believed that lower expectations did not help people. He founded the African American Athletic Association. Arthur co-founded in 1969 the National Junior Tennis League, an organization created with all children in mind. He believed that every kid should have a chance.

The NJTL has given me the opportunity to learn the grand sport of tennis. It has been awesome knowing new friends, playing and competing. I have even played in tournaments. At the same time, I have learned the responsibility of the game. Thanks to the NJTL and Arthur’s legacy I have gained knowledge, character, discipline and confidence. Arthur’s life was his greatest match and he won because he believed in himself and me.

Frank O. Baez






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