LAS VEGAS —
Pull the lever at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
High School and out spins a boatload of athletic kids with celebrity genes.
Randall Cunningham Jr. is the football team's star quarterback and Chase Maddux, son of former MLB star Greg Maddux, will be on the varsity baseball team in the spring.
Nine-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton's boy Julian is a sophomore basketball player, and starting varsity football safety Nicco Fertitta is the son of Lorenzo Fertitta, owner of the UFC and other sports enterprises.
But Gorman hit the jackpot among celebrity children with a freshman running back who may just be the greatest of them all. Biaggio Ali Walsh
, 15, is the grandson of Muhammad Ali, simply known as "The Greatest." And not only that, he may be the perennial national power's next premier back.
Through four freshman games, all victories, the fast and fluid 5-foot-10, 165-pounder has rushed for 10 touchdowns, including four Wednesday in a 28-10 win over Liberty (Henderson, Nev.).
"He's a phenomenal football player," said Gorman freshman coach Rob Burgman. "He's got as much skill and works as hard as any football player I've ever had in 34 years of coaching. And I thought that before I knew who his grandfather was."
To many, of course, Ali was the greatest heavyweight boxer of all-time, a three-time world champion whose stance on social and religious issues along with a playful and charismatic personality made him a polarizing global figure. Sports Illustrated crowned him the "Sportsman of the Century" for the 20th century at the same time the BBC named him "Sports Personality of the Century."
But to Biaggio (pronounced Bee-ah-gio) and his 13-year-old brother Nico, Ali has always been known simply as "Papi," their grandfather.
See our special Biaggio Ali Walsh photo gallery
The oldest son of Rasheda Ali-Walsh and Bob Walsh, Biaggio and his grandfather are close and often communicate through Skype or FaceTime after games. Hudl video of Biaggio's games are also sent to Ali, who now resides in Scottsdale,Ariz., with third wife Lonnie Ali.
The two plan to chat on FaceTime today, Biaggio said. He will have plenty to talk about following Wednesday's performance.
"He always tells me how proud he is of me," Biaggio said. "That makes me feel happy and strong."
Video by Tony Mixx/Edited by Ryan Escobar