Action News 5 photographer reflects on a gift from 'The King' | Community Spirit
(WMC-TV) - After last week's scary incident of Jerry Lawler's unfortunate health scare, it really made me think of how lucky I am for knowing him personally. A lot of things went through my mind and of course I wanted to reach out to his sons, friends and also to him... I tried very hard to stand back and give them their space, while juggling the fact I work in TV news and any insight I might have may be helpful for the station. I think I balanced it very well.
The type of person that "The King" is goes way beyond what I'm about to type..a very genuine and overall down to earth guy that really isnt caught up in his own fame. When someone meets him for the first time, he goes out of his way to make that person feel special. He really cares and listens to all fans that want to just take a picture or who want to take a walk down memory lane about the history of professional wrestling.
What The King did for me , well, he did many things for me. He is a friend and has been a mentor to me as I, myself, tried my hand at his profession. But one thing will forever stand out in my mind was what he did for my brother.
My brother grew up in the late 60s and early 70s and is a huge AWA wrestling fan. The AWA was a company that was extremely popular back then and was ran by legendary wrestler/promoter Verne Gagne...The King ended up winning that company's world title here in Memphis in 1988 in front of a sold out crowd at the Mid-South Coliseum.
Well, as I got to know The King, I told him of my brothers excitement for the AWA, as I knew Jerry won that title some 20 plus years earlier. He listened, as usual, as I told him how my brother would talk about all the ole' time wrestlers from the AWA and how my brother's 50th birthday was coming up.
I had gotten hold of the AWA World Title belt from my good friend and belt maker Dave Millican a few weeks prior and Jerry knew that. He came up with the idea to 'present' my brother via video , the AWA title belt , telling my brother from The King's living room to my brother's birthday party, the history of that Championship belt and how he won it back in 1988.
After everyone at the birthday party watched The King's proclomation and presentation of the AWA World Championship to my brother Brian, I handed the belt to my brother and I will never forget the shock and surprised look in his face as long as I live...Great moment!!!
I tell this story, not because of the physical gift Jerry Lawler gave, but of the gift he gave of friendship and how he goes out of his way to make fans and everyone he meets feel special. The gift of friendship is to be cherished and I certainly hope The King gets better soon, as I know he has more people he would like to give that type of friendshp to...Get Well King!!!!!