Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson proves that he is the people’s champion. The Rock was honored with the tribute at the 2021 People’s Choice Awards on Tuesday, December 7. He opted to credit two of his heroes with the title: Muhammad Ali and Make-a-Wish recipient Shushana.
Johnson first accepted the award, presented by his “drinking buddy” Jeff Bezos. He informed the audiences that he does not consider himself the O.G. People’s Champion.
“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,” the former WWE star explained. “I first met Muhammed 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 dubbed himself the “people’s champion” for his “bad guy” persona in the WWE, but later asked Ali’s wife for permission to use the title. “She said, ‘He told me to tell you you are the people’s champion, you have earned it, you take that title,'” Johnson shared. “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. 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.”
Johnson Continued “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.'”
Johnson further invited the 2021 PCAs Make-a-Wish recipient Shushana on stage. “Being here tonight with us and with you guys, this is her wish. 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.”
Johnson was seen citing Ali’s famous quote “The service to others is the rent you pay for the room you have here on earth” as the reason for giving Shushana the award.
The 15-time PCAs nominee and the two-time winner then handed Shushana the microphone to give her unexpected acceptance speech. Shushana started, “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 that it could end up in this, survive something.” She continued.
Johnson also dedicated his Comedy Movie Star win to co-star and fellow nominee Emily Blunt earlier in the evening. To end the evening, Johnson reminded audiences that it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Johnson made it clear that he is a true People’s Champion, even if he is not holding the trophy.