Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: a man of many accolades and adored by the masses, is now set to receive The People’s Champion Award next month. This honor joins two people’s choice awards previously claimed by Johnson. However, this title holds special merit, as its design is intended to recognize the actors’ philanthropic efforts in addition to his contributions to the entertainment world.
Dwayne ‘Heart of Gold’ Johnson
Dwayne Johnson’s charisma and likability has an undeniable link to his kindness and generosity. The actor is certainly no stranger to noble acts. For example, in a recent interview stunt double Tanoi Reed revealed that Johnson paid the stuntman out of his own pocket.
When shooting the 2006 film Gridiron Gang, Johnson paid the stunt double himself as the film did not have a budget for a stunt person. Reed went on to work as Johnsons’’ stunt double on several more projects. Acts of kindness such as this one are without a doubt a huge contributor to the longevity of Johnsons’ positive relationships in Hollywood. By extension of this, it’s no wonder the actor is receiving such an honor.
When asked about choosing Johnson to receive the People’s Champion award, Jen Neal (EVP, Entertainment Live Events, Specials & E! News, NBCUniversal Entertainment Television and Streaming) shared, “During a period where there has been a lot of uncertainty, Johnson has displayed an uncanny ability to raise spirits and make people smile despite circumstances. His philanthropic efforts and international social media presence has made him a cultural leader and inspiration to many, making him the perfect recipient for ‘The People’s Champion’ award this year.”
A True Champion of the People
Although Dwayne Johnson is most commonly known by his nickname “The Rock” originating from his wrestling days, Johnson is also known by the nickname “The People’s Champion.”
Long before Johnson received this current honor, the WWE-wrestler turned actor, gave himself the nickname, with the blessing of long-time legend Muhammad Ali. In an interview with SportsCenter, Johnson shared his recollection of the moment it became official.
“When I was a rookie in the WWE, 1996, we were at a big function, and no one knew who I was. One of those things where I had my own nametag, ‘Hello, I am Rocky Maivia.’ Ali was sitting down, and I said, ‘I’d love to go over and say hello to him,’ so I went over to him and introduced myself. As I was pulling away he kinda pulled me back in and he whispered, ‘Can you rumble?’
I said, ‘Yeah, I think I can…’
Cut to 1998, I started calling myself The People’s Champion in honor of him. When I was wrestling in Louisville, Kentucky, his family came to watch me wrestle, and I talked to his wife and said, ‘Please tell Muhammad it’s only out of respect that I call myself that. And I’ll stop it right now if he doesn’t like it.’
She said, ‘Oh no, he loves it. He wants you to call yourself that.’”
Dwayne Johnson taking home the honor of The 2021 People’s Champion Award is certainly fitting and a full-circle moment. To watch this years’ People’s Choice Awards, tune into NBC on 12/7.