It’s no news that Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock has always been a people’s actor, but now this was acknowledged with an award. On December 7, Johnson was presented with the People’s Champion Award by Jeff Bezos at the 2021 People’s Choice Awards. He was honoured for his philanthropic efforts as well as contributions to the entertainment industry.
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Johnson, dressed in a red satin shirt and maroon pants, came up on the stage to accept the award and delivered a moving speech. He then proved why he was loved by so many by inviting Make-A-Wish recipient and cancer survivor Shushana and handing over the People’s Champion Award to her.
During his speech, Johnson reminisced about his first interaction with the original People’s Champion, Muhammad Ali. He went on to explain the reason behind why he used to refer to himself as such during his WWE days. “For those who may know or for those who may not know, the original people’s champion was the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali. I first met Muhammad when I was a little boy and he was so cool to me. He was so kind and he was so funny. He was always wonderful to me,” he said.
Talking about how he made sure to ask Ali’s wife for permission to call himself ‘People’s Champion’, he added, “She said, ‘He told me to tell you you are the people’s champion, you have earned it, you take that title.’ Years later to be standing here with you guys, you voted me the People’s Champion, this irony is not lost on me because I realize that what it means to be the People’s Champion is so much bigger than me. You treat people good, you treat people kind. You take care of people. You’re inclusive of people, all people, all colours, it doesn’t matter.
The last time I saw Muhammad, we were at a Make-a-Wish event and we were both granting wishes. His last words to me were, ‘You keep rumbling”.” The star then invited Shushana on stage and presented her his award saying, “I met her earlier. I told her how inspired I was by her story. She is a survivor. She has fought literally for her life. She has inspired her family, her friends, now you guys here, now the world that is watching”.
Johnson concluded his speech with a powerful message, saying, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
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