Howard Bingham

Where Ali walked, Howard Bingham followed with camera

Where Ali walked, Howard Bingham (left) followed with camera

This morning I read on Jonathan Eig’s Facebook page that Howard Bingham died yesterday.

I’m gonna write that again: This morning I read on Jonathan Eig’s Facebook page that Howard Bingham died yesterday.

This is too weird. Howard Bingham, in case you don’t know, was Muhammad Ali’s friend and photographer for decades. He shot some of the most memorable images of the past century; images that capture a riveting man in his greatest highs, in his lowest lows. He shows Ali in the ring, in the shower, with lovers, with haters. He probably snapped, oh, 1 million images of Ali. He knew the man as well as anyone, and with the champion’s passing earlier this year became the carrier of his legacy.

And yet … nothing. Few obits, few words. Yes, Craig Sager died yesterday, and that was heartbreaking. Sager was, by all accounts, a wonderful man, and he deserved all the accolades thrown his way. And yet, Bingham’s impact and legacy is far greater. He was the chronicler of the most chronicled.

This might come off wrongly, but generations from now, Craig Sager will (like most of us) be forgotten to sports history. He was an excellent sideline reporter and human being, but those attributes only last so many generations. Meanwhile, 200 years from now (if there is a 200 years from now), I suspect people will still be gazing at Bingham’s images, wowed by the splendor of the Greatest.

RIP.

Photo by Howard Bingham

Photo by Howard Bingham

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