Nick Charles: Sports and Life
Two biggest and most undeniable facts of our lives are the life and death. In spite of all the billions of dollars spent in research and development, and cutting edge discoveries in anti-aging, death is still the hard core fact of our lives. Every time someone near and dear to us passes away, we are reminded the fact that we are all mortal and have to leave this world, sooner or later. There have always been only three major types of people in this world. A vast majority of people who leave their loved ones crying and mourning, but, are forgotten after while, forever. Then are the people, who die leaving a negative mark on their name and will always be remembered as a bad people in history. Third are the ones who lived their lives to the fullest, exploited their energy and resources in a positive manner and left a permanent positive mark on their names. They are, and will always be remembered as great and good people in human history.
Another person in this third category, just died.
Nick Charles of CNN, who started his life as a taxi driver in Chicago and made his way to very successful almost two decades on CNN, will always be remembered as one of greatest sports broadcasters. Above all, he was a very good man, wonderful husband and a loving father. He was full of life and his passion for sports, specially boxing was extra-ordinary. He covered the most major sports events in the world, but, he was particularly passionate about covering major boxing events. You have seen him from interviewing Mohammad Ali to Mike Tyson to Evander Holyfield to Roberto Duran to Sugar Ray Leonard. He. also, covered from Olympics to Super Bowl to Kentucky Derby. He has survived with his wife of thirteen years, Cory and daughter Giovanna. He has three other children from two previous marriages, Jason, 39; Melissa, 36; and Katie, 24.
He is an American story. Son of taxi driver, who was mostly absent from his sons life, he grew up as Nick Nickeas. As a student. he struggled in high school. CNN reports:
“He was too busy working late-night jobs at produce docks in desolate Chicago neighborhoods. Once, his boss pointed to mounds of rat feces, threw lye all over the floor and handed the 17-year-old Charles a pair of gloves, rubber boots and a hoe.
He scrubbed away, but thought to himself: “I’ll never be trapped again in life. Never. Never.”
“That was a watershed, life-changing moment for me. It really drove me to the point where I had focus in my life.”
He eventually went to Columbia College Chicago, where he studied communications and journalism.
He drove a taxi to help pay for college. Even in the driver’s seat, he was practicing for his broadcast career.
“I wasn’t nosey, but just curious about people’s life. I’d ask, ‘How’d you get to this country? What was the spark that motivated you in life?’ … I don’t know what it was, but people would open up.”
Charles was still driving taxis in the fall of 1970 when he auditioned for his first television job, at WICS in Springfield, Illinois.
Two days later, he got the job. He took a pay cut to enter the television business: 0 a week as a sports anchor, compared with 0 driving a taxi.
He was told by his news director that his Greek name was too ethnic and to change it to something more “vanilla.”
“Nick Nickeas, sounds like you got a stutter, too,” the news director added.
At the age of 24, Nick Charles was born.”
“He was paired with Fred Hickman for most of the next two decades on “Sports Tonight,” a show that beat ESPN in ratings when the upstarts were battling for viewers.” Among the people paying tribute to him are his long time co-anchor Fred Hickman, Jim Walton, Charle’s field producers in his early days and current president CNN worldwide, and Mike Tyson. Walton said in a massage, “His passing is a loss to CNN, to the sports world and to the fans and friends everywhere who were with him to the end of his extraordinary life,” and Tyson Twitted, “Mourning the loss of a true warrior. My friend & brother, Nick Charles.”
He fought his last fight with courage, persistence and honor. He is an inspiration for anyone in or out of similar situation. He survived longer then his doctors expected. He believed every day is new day and enjoyed the beauty of this world and life, in every moment of his last days. He did every thing possible to leave a positive role model and good memories for his young daughter.
When you look at his reports, you find his involvement and passion, highly capturing. This is what, that has kept sports fans engaged with him and his show in the midst of cut throat competition with ESPN and other sports channels and shows. His smile would light up the room and his hair were always the topic of discussions and center of attention, particularly among female sports fans.
The chemistry between him and his seventeen years co-anchor Hickman was amazing. They kept their show alive and highly competitive for almost two decades. They made up the longest running duo in sports cast history.
He was with CNN from it’s first day of broadcast, since June 1, 1980 and won three CableAce Awards of best sports program in it’s seventeen years run. He also won AP award for investigative journalism when he was working at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland. His list of awards includes, Boxing Writer’s Association 2007 Broadcaster award. In 2008, he won the Sam Taub Award for excellence in boxing broadcasting journalism. Charles is also the winner of several cable ACE awards. His other achievements include, Goodwill Games for Turner Broadcasting in 1986 in Moscow, 1990 in Seattle, 1994 in St. Petersburg, Russia and covered boxing for the Goodwill Games in New York City in 1998. After leaving CNN in 2001, Charles hosted Showtime’s ShoBox: The New Generation. He also hosted boxing on Versus, a sports network.