Dwayne Johnson proved just why he got voted the People’s Champion as he delivered a powerful speech about kindness at the 2021 People’s Choice Awards Tuesday.
The actor dedicated his award to Make-a-Wish recipient Shushana after paying tribute to the late Muhammad Ali.
The Rock shared, “For those who may know or for those who may not know, the original people’s champion was the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali.
“I first met Muhammad when I was a little boy and he was so cool to me. He was so kind and he was so funny. He was always wonderful to me.”
Johnson explained how he’d dubbed himself the “people’s champion” for his “bad guy” persona during his WWE career.
However, he made sure to ask Ali’s wife for permission to call himself that.
Johnson told the crowd, “She said, ‘He told me to tell you you are the people’s champion, you have earned it, you take that title.’
“Years later to be standing here with you guys, you voted me the People’s Champion, this irony is not lost on me because I realize that what it means to be the People’s Champion is so much bigger than me. You treat people good, you treat people kind. You take care of people. You’re inclusive of people, all people, all colours, it doesn’t matter.
“The last time I saw Muhammad, we were at a Make-a-Wish event and we were both granting wishes. His last words to me were, ‘You keep rumbling.'”
Johnson then gave a shout-out to Make-a-Wish recipient Shushana before inviting her up on stage.
“Being here tonight with us and with you guys, this is her wish. She has no idea I’m doing this,” Johnson shared.
“This is a total surprise. I met her earlier. I told her how inspired I was by her story. She is a survivor, she has fought literally for her life, she has inspired her family [and] friends. I want to tell you just how much you’ve inspired me and everyone around you and certainly everyone here. I want to give you this because you represent everything that it means to be a People’s Champion so this is for you.”
The star read out the famous quote from Ali: “The service to others is the rent you pay for the room you have here on earth,” before handing Shushana the microphone to say a few words.
Clearly in shock, she said, “First, thank you for this. I didn’t expect this at all. But, I mean, thank you to Make-a-Wish in general. I just never expected that something [like this] could happen. This is crazy.”
Johnson, who also dedicated his Comedy Movie Star award for “Jungle Cruise” to his co-star Emily Blunt, ended his speech by reminding people that “it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”