Why I admire George Foreman—and why everyone should
I sometimes wonder why successful black businessmen are not extolled as much as their white counterparts. Take George Foreman, for example. To many people, he's a former heavyweight boxing champion. Others may think he was just the spokesperson for a line of fat-reducing grills, but according to a History Channel H2 Modern Marvels program ('90s Tech Education), he was the brains behind that über-success story. This excerpt makes that clear:
LEON DREIMANN (former CEO of Salton): No one was interested in the grill. But a gentleman that came to me, and he said, “I think I have a customer for it,” and I said, “You know, I can't sell it, so if you want it, it's yours.”
ANNOUNCER: The potential buyer was none other than George Foreman. […]
DREIMANN: George didn't want to be marketing it himself, and as it turned out, the advice came to him that Salton would be the best company to do it, and so it came right back to me, and after that, it was like a Japanese bullet train.
ANNOUNCER: Salton had sold more than 90 million George Foreman grills in just 12 years—over five billion dollars worth.
Isn't it interesting that Foreman saw the potential in a product that proved to be a blockbuster while brilliant CEOs thought it had so little potential they dismissed it?
I didn't like George Foreman when I was a kid because anyone who fought Muhammad Ali, one of my heroes, was bad—or so my young mind thought. Additionally, “Foreman was sometimes characterized by the media as an aloof and antisocial champion. According to them, he always seemed to wear a sneer …”
Which he did. I like friendly people, and Foreman seemed perpetually angry then. However, that was not the real George Foreman; the real Foreman is such a great guy and so lovable that I'd like to hug him. He's downright irresistible.
I am fully heterosexual, but if I were a woman and he were single, I'd try to date and marry him. His charm is off-the-scale, he's handsome, and I truly admire brilliant people like him whose great minds see the value in new products when others who should have more expertise see a flop in the making.
But who was correct? George Foreman, my hero. I care nothing about his very successful boxing career (I now think all professional sports are silly diversions from more important things in life), but I admire great people and great businessmen. George Foreman is both.