Ric Flair on Idol Billy Graham: 'Aim to Mirror, Yet Unmatched



by NOMAN RASOOL

Ric Flair on Idol Billy Graham: 'Aim to Mirror, Yet Unmatched

Legendary professional wrestler Ric Flair recently paid tribute to his idol and fellow wrestling superstar, Billy Graham, following Graham's passing last weekend at 79. Graham's life had been marred by severe health problems, which led to his confinement to life support during his final days.

The profound impact Graham had on the wrestling industry and Flair himself was a significant focus during Flair's recent conversation with Sports Illustrated. Graham, renowned for his flamboyant clothing and iconic earring, was a tremendous influence.

His passionate interviews and imposing physique, unmatched in his era, inspired an entire generation of wrestlers. Flair fondly remembered Graham's trailblazing spirit: "Superstar Billy Graham influenced a whole generation of wrestlers, myself included." The outpouring of affection and respect following Graham's passing truly exemplifies his impact on those around him, and Flair pointed to this as a testament to Graham's lasting legacy in the industry.

The Nature Boy was deeply affected by Graham, viewing him alongside Dusty Rhodes as his favorite. Flair said, "Look at the reaction following his death and the outpouring of love; that's because of his impact on people. He certainly had that impact on me."

Flair's Personal Memories of Graham

As a 16-time world champion, Flair held Graham in the highest esteem, professionally and personally.

Flair shared anecdotes about Graham, reminiscing when he served as the superstar's chauffeur, driving him in a white El Dorado with a luxurious red interior. Flair also recollected that Graham's wife first bleached his hair.

Reflecting on his wrestling career, Flair acknowledged the indelible impact of Graham and Rhodes on his wrestling style. Their charisma was an irresistible draw for Flair, inspiring him to try to emulate them, but he quickly realized that Graham's unique persona was irreplaceable.

Flair says, "I tried to be just like Billy, but there's only one Billy." In conclusion, Flair recognized Graham's revolutionary contribution to wrestling, altering its very outlook with his distinct style. He fittingly declared, "'Superstar' Billy Graham—often imitated, never duplicated." This tribute, filled with warmth and respect, mirrors the sentiment of countless fans and wrestling professionals who mourn the loss of a true superstar.

Ric Flair Billy Graham