ISU Students Celebrate King Holiday
AMES, Iowa – Monday night it was about history. Legacy was the theme affirmed by the participation of 38 Iowa State student-athletes in a celebration of the birthday of Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King at Ames High School. The Cyclone student-athletes recalled the legacy of African-American athletes since World War II whose stars rose with the gains made by Dr. King and his supporters of freedom and equality.
“Each sport paired off with another and we were assigned a decade,” Iowa State football player Euseph Messiah said. “We were given the 1990s and it was a tough call between (Olympic sprinter) Michael Johnson and (NBA star) Michael Jordan. We went with Johnson because his career really covered the entire decade. Either way you were dealing with one of the all-time greats in their sport.”
The Iowa Staters then explained the achievements and legacy of each of the selected athletics trailblazers. Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in major league baseball, was chosen for the 1940s. Prolific baseball outfielder and home run hitter Willie Mays represented the 1950s. Olympic gold medalist and 100-meter world record-holder Jim Hines was featured for the 1960s. Lee Elder, the first African-American to play in the Master’s Tournament was tabbed as the 1970s representative. For the 1980s, nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis was chosen. The achievements of nine-time world champion and five-time Olympic gold medal sprinter Michael Johnson was recognized for the 1990s. James Blake, the second-ranked tennis player in the U.S., was chosen for athletes of the initial decade of the 21st century.
The evening included several musical presentations and testimonials before a crowd of several hundred people.