Muhammed Ali

Boxer, Activist

I was young enough to see him fight on television under his original name, Cassius Clay. He later converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammed Ali. He was a force, mesmerizing. He had the athletic talent, power, speed and moves to back up the mouth. Sports Illustrated ranked him the greatest athlete in the 20th century. He was full of rhymes and phrases like “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” that enthralled the press and intimidated his opponents. He was also a man of strong conviction and refused to be drafted in to the Army and fight in the Vietnam war. Ironically, if he wouldn’t kill for the U.S., they wouldn’t let him fight in the ring. They even stripped him of his titles. Ultimately winning an appeal in the Supreme Court he was allowed to return to boxing but he had lost 4 years  during what probably would’ve been his peak years.