Just as Ali shocked the world after becoming the youngest heavyweight champion ever, the champ shocked the world with his death. Yes, everyone dies, but Ali appeared invincible after living with Parkinson’s Disease as long as he did. He fought the disease with humor and good spirit–just as he fought opponents in the ring and just as Ali embraced racial pride.
As a kid, my male friends sang Ali’s praises, but I did not agree with people paying grown men to beat each other half to death. I detested Ali’s excessive bragging and taunting. The Gorilla in Manila comes to mind. But despite this, I came to love Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer–and perhaps athlete–of all time.
An advocate, Ali confronted race relations in America, and he opposed the Vietnam Conflict. Fearless, Ali made statements by not fighting in the war and appealing his draft-evasion conviction then prevailing after the Supreme Court overturned the conviction. As they say: “he shook up the world.” Most important, Ali became a global hero who made Americans proud. He fearlessly flew to Iraq to negotiate the release of American soldiers from Saddam Hussein. God Bless The Ali Family. Until the next time . . .