SBJ/March 14-20, 2011/Labor and Agents

ProServ founders reflect on legacy of Arthur Ashe

Of all the athletes serviced by ProServ, there was unanimity of opinion that Arthur Ashe was the most extraordinary individual. “He was like Nelson Mandela,” said company co-founder Ray Benton. “Just a fantastic human being.”

ProServ client Ashe was “just a fantastic human being,” Benton said.
A touching story was told about Ashe’s immediate reaction after ProServ officials received the first media call inquiring about his having AIDS. “His initial reaction was to try to turn this into something positive,” recalled Ivan Blumberg. “We turned it into the AIDS awareness event at the U.S. Open.”

Like the others, “mine’s not even close, it’s Arthur Ashe,” Donald Dell said. “Michael Jordan for 10 years was exciting, charismatic and helped us take off with basketball. But as a human being, it was clearly Arthur. America lost a great friend and a great person when it lost Arthur.”

Added Frank Craighill, “Arthur was good friend of all of ours and a unique human being. … That original group of Arthur, Stan [Smith], Bobby Lutz and Charlie Pasarell were a fabulous group of athletes — all of whom accepted the responsibility of their roles and who did all the right things. The latter group of athletes changed.”

— Terry Lefton

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