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My Favorite Cigar

Cigar aficionados describe their smoke of choice
| By David Savona | From 30 Years Of Cigar Aficionado, November/ December 2022
My Favorite Cigar

Ray Lewis • Football Great

Legends 52 Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis exudes power. Even now, close to 10 years after retiring from the NFL, his shoulders seem to block the sun and his handshake feels as if it could crush stone. Now considered one of the greatest linebackers in football history, he built his body as a boy on a mission to protect his mother. “A lot of people always look at me and they always say, ‘Man, how did you become this great football player?’ ” he said during a speech at Harvard University. “It wasn’t football that drove me. It was making sure a man would never put his hands on my mom again, is what drove me.”

Lewis directed his power on the football field, and got a scholarship to the University of Miami, where he excelled as a Hurricane, being named All-American. He entered the NFL draft and was chosen by the Baltimore Ravens ahead of their inaugural 1996 season. He would come to lead a ferocious defense that would win two Super Bowls. His football awards are almost too many to count, among them Super Bowl MVP, member of NFL 100 team and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Lewis discovered cigars via his grandfather, a man he called Pop-Pop who was fond of saying “the day you figure out why I keep a cigar in my mouth is the day you figure out manhood.” After he died, Lewis dropped in on a friend, who offered him a Padrón. “I got to my last puff. Tears started rolling down my face,” he said during his 2016 Cigar Aficionado interview. “I started reflecting on everything that I did with my grandfather.” The cigars became a regular ritual for Lewis. He now even has his own brand, called Legends 52 Ray Lewis, which he says are his current favorite. “Cigars renew me,” he says.

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