The Rock was presented with the People’s Choice Award by his “drinking buddy” Jeff Bezos.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lives by his credo “it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
The superstar fully embodied this sage advice when he was presented with the People’s Champion award by his “drinking buddy” Jeff Bezos at the 2021 People’s Choice Awards on Tuesday night.
Johnson proved himself worthy of the title by instead giving his honor to someone who has inspired him — Make-a-Wish recipient Shushana, a teen there in the audience that night.
The former WWE champ started by paying homage the OG people’s champ, Muhammad Ali.
“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,” Johnson recalled. “He was so kind and he was so funny. He was always wonderful to me.”
He then went on to explain how he had taken on the mantle while playing a “bad guy” in the WWE. However, he later got Ali’s blessings to use the title via the boxing legend’s wife.
“She said, ‘He told me to tell you you are the people’s champion, you have earned it, you take that title,'” Johnson emotionally recalled.
“Years later to be standing here with you guys, you voted me the People’s Champion, the 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,” he said. “You treat people good, you treat people kind. You take care of people. You’re inclusive of people, all people, all colors, it doesn’t matter.”
He went on to share inspiring words he received from Ali himself: “The last time I saw Muhammed, we were at a Make-a-Wish event and we were both granting wishes. His last words to me were, ‘You keep rumbling.'”
And that’s just what Johnson did when he surprised Shushana, sitting in the audience, to join him onstage.
“Being here tonight with us and with you guys, this is her wish,” he explained before inviting her up. “She has no idea I’m doing. This is a total surprise. I met her earlier. I told her how proud I was of her story. She is a fighter, 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.”
He then quoted Ali again: “Service to others is the rent you pay for the room you have here on Earth.”
Shushana then took the mic: “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 this good could happen. This is crazy. I never thought from just being sick that it could end up in this … survive something. Thank you so much.”
The Rock then reminded the audience of his favorite quote: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”