Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali.
I remember two of them only because of my father. But it has Cassius Clay who caught my attention, and the world’s, when he stood up before the cameras and said he’d no longer be known by his slave name, Cassius Clay, and that from then on, he was to be called Muhammad Ali.
I also remember his boxing mantra, “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”
And he caught my attention again during his legendary battles with sports reporter, Howard Cosell.
Let us not mourn to hard, but rather, remember with great respect and fondness, a man who lived an enormous life. And whether in the ring or out, he said what needed saying when it need saying. And he stood his ground well.
Excerpt from Wikipedia:
Ali’s example inspired countless black Americans and others. The New York Timescolumnist William Rhoden wrote, “Ali’s actions changed my standard of what constituted an athlete’s greatness. Possessing a killer jump shot or the ability to stop on a dime was no longer enough. What were you doing for the liberation of your people? What were you doing to help your country live up to the covenant of its founding principles?”
Recalling Ali’s anti-war position, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said: “I remember the teachers at my high school didn’t like Ali because he was so anti-establishment and he kind of thumbed his nose at authority and got away with it. The fact that he was proud to be a Black man and that he had so much talent … made some people think that he was dangerous. But for those very reasons I enjoyed him.”
Ali inspired Martin Luther King, Jr., who had been reluctant to address the Vietnam War for fear of alienating the Johnson Administration and its support of the civil rights agenda. Now, King began to voice his own opposition to the war for the first time.
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