Elvis Presley was a thin, gesticulating young man in 1955, his sleek ankles tucked neatly into a slim pair of blue suede shoes. Less than twenty years later, he was a cankled connoisseur of barbiturates and swollen rhinestones, a man Tony Sherman described as “a grotesque caricature of his sleek, energetic former self. Hugely overweight, his mind dulled by the pharmacopoeia he daily ingested, he was barely able to pull himself through his abbreviated concerts.”
In this photo, B.J. Penn pays tribute to the King, wearing the icon’s characteristic glasses and bejangled red jumper. Penn’s own career has no doubt paralleled Presley’s in certain respects, as he navigated super-stardom as the sprightly Prodigy, then struggled to make it through his own abbreviated performances. Of course, the comparison is a bit strained, and it is not at all surprising that islander Penn naturally relates to Presley’s Aloha from Hawaii era.