Muhammad Ali was man of his words. He was smart and handsome. Ali knew that he was black. Ali knew how to turn the tide. When he faced the courts for rejecting the Vietnam war, he suddenly found himself in hot waters. There was nothing he could do about it except to speak against it, which he did. His arch enemies were in the government. His unrelenting friend was his tongue.
Ali spoke with honor and pride. He was a commander without a sword. He was a general without a brigade. Ali became the most hated man of America, in the late 1960s, when he rejected Vietnam war saying, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”. Ali remained defiant in the face of racial injustice rampant in the society.
His view that Jesus was shown white in every depiction was a discrmination against the black. He uplifted the status of the blacks of America and the world. Despite him embracing the religion of Islam in 1961, he is widely respected among most of his opponents as well. His mentor was Malcolm X.
In 1966, Ali was denied the boxing license in every state, even his passport was cancelled due to opposition to the Vietnam war. Ali couldn’t do any boxing bouts between 1967 and 1970. This time around he was able to go to colleges to sow seeds of African-American pride in the hearts of Americans. Government feared his fierce speeches could prompt civil disobedience. By that time in 1970, resistance to the Vietnam war had already grown.
Muhammad Ali was appealing in supreme court and remained out of prison until it was, then, in 1971 that his conviction was overturned with an 8–0 decision by the Supreme Court of United States of America. Then Ali fought for a new glory. Ali’s famous quotes which keep coming back even after his death make him immortal.
Muhammad Ali Quotes
“I am out to conquer immortality”
“Float like a butterfly sting like a bee.”
“If my mind can conceive it, if my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.”
“I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was.”
“A man who has no imagination has no wings.”
“It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
These thoughts are timeless. People living in any era can have a source of inspiration from these golden words. Ali wore an expressionless face but when he talked, there was a sea of opinions that came out abruptly. His hip hop style poetry of explaining his ideas to the people was second to none.
Awards that Muhammad Ali got throughout his life were Philadelphia Liberty Medal, Martin Luther King Award, Arthur Ashe Courage Award, Sports Illustrated’s Mouhammad Ali Legacy Award. There were numerous films made on him, “When We Were Kings” in 1996 about “Rumble in the Jungle” fight with George Foreman and a biopic “Ali” of 2001, featuring Will Smith. Will Smith got the MTV Award of Best Male Performance for that role.
Ali’s trash talk and his humour walked the same road at the same time. He said before the fight with George Foreman: “I’ve done something new for this fight. I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”
Muhammad Ali fought Terrel in February 1967. It was the time that his boxing license was not yet cancelled. Pre match press briefing led to heated exchanges, even Ali slapping Terrel because Terrel called out his previous name Cassius Clay which he didn’t like. Not only Ali defeated Terrell in that match. Muhammad Ali kept asking Terrel during the match, “What’s my name?” before every savage punch on Terrell’s face.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame has names of people on the ground. Muhammad Ali said that he bears the name of Prophet Muhammad, he cannot let his name be written on the floor. He is the only one whose name remains hanging on the wall.
Tyson and Muhammad Ali had a very strong bonding. Mike Tyson respected Muhammad Ali all his life. Tyson would say, if he had fought Muhammad Ali, he must have lost. Tyson was named the greatest heavyweight boxer after Muhammad Ali. Tyson and Will Smith attended Muhammad Ali’s funeral in Louisville. Arnold and Bill Clinton paid respects to The Greatest. Muhammad Ali lived between 1942 and 2016 and really lived all through.