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Sat Jun 4, 2016, 12:46 PM

Muhammad Ali was so much more than a really good boxer

He did things his own way, in a very stylish way, speaking out against war, racism, and religious intolerance when doing so was very much frowned upon. He was a funny and amazing man. I call him a great man for his honor, courage and integrity. I thank him for making the world a better place, for being the inspiration for so many people to carve out their own way and be good people.

I am not a fan of boxing in any way. I understand the skill needed to do it well, but it has never appealed to me. I was a child when he won the world heavyweight championship and remember people talking about how good of a boxer he was, how amusing he was to watch because he had such a different style than most. I remember the cries of "that's not fair" when he won by using strategy rather than just brute strength. He definitely changed things up.

And it was no longer enough to simply be a great athlete.

From the wiki article on him, linked to http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/sports/in-alis-voice-from-the-past-a-stand-for-the-ages.html?_r=1
"Ali's example inspired countless black Americans and others. The New York Times columnist 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?"


He refused to be drafted into the Viet Nam war and lost his boxing title and millions of dollars in endorsements as a result. His moral standards were worth more than the title he gained and the money offered. He inspired so many to also protest the war and to work against trying to end it. His actions inspired Martin Luther King jr to speak out against the war and eventually his conviction was overturned by the SCOTUS.

This is what I remember so much about him. How could someone who fights for a living, who has been proclaimed the best fighter, say no, I won't go fight in a war? What did it mean to be a CO? What did it mean to be a boxer? If a pro-boxer could say no, wars are immoral, so could so many others.

Here is an article from 2000 that talks about his impact.
http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/30/sports/backtalk-today-s-athletes-owe-everything-to-ali.html?pagewanted=3

Then there was his public conversion to Islam. I remember asking my parents what that meant, how he could change his name and religion. This was quite an eye opening event for me, a youngster living in the heartlands in the 60's. "Cassius Clay is my slave name." Yes, he started with an extreme sect, later converted from the Nation of Islam sect to mainstream Sunni Islam in 1975 and spoke out against religious intolerance.

Here is a short article that sums up well what he meant.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-boxing-ali-condition-idUSKCN0YQ00M

He was a great man, refusing to fit into the mold that had been designated for him, and inspiring so many to do the same.

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Muhammad Ali was so much more than a really good boxer (Original post)
uppityperson Jun 2016 OP
niyad Jun 2016 #1
uppityperson Jun 2016 #2
niyad Jun 2016 #3
yeoman6987 Jun 2016 #5
HuckleB Jun 2016 #4
hollowdweller Jun 2016 #6
marybourg Jun 2016 #7
Bonx Jun 2016 #8
reign88 Jun 2016 #9

Response to uppityperson (Original post)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 12:54 PM

1. k and r with thanks

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Response to niyad (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 12:57 PM

2. You are welcome. I want people to know he was so much more than a great boxer

Yes, he was a great boxer, but so much more. He was a great man, an icon of the 60's, of many of our formative years.

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 12:58 PM

3. I absolutely hate boxing, but he was such a great human being on so many other levels-- I

admire the work his Ali Center does, and the incredible inspiration he has been for so many.

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Response to niyad (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 01:10 PM

5. I feel so fortunate to have gone to Louisville to see the Ali museum

 

What a place so full of history. A must see for all.

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Response to uppityperson (Original post)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 01:10 PM

4. Indeed.

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Response to uppityperson (Original post)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 01:25 PM

6. He was a pretty good PR guy for Islam.

 



I'm guessing there are as many, or near as many african american muslims in the US, who are moderate, but only the middle east guys seem to be in the news.

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Response to uppityperson (Original post)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 02:34 PM

7. Kids at the local Phoenix Boys & Girls Clubs

were thrilled to have him drop in - in earlier years when he was still able to do so - bringing sports equipment and memorabilia.

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Response to uppityperson (Original post)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 02:50 PM

8. Love this Ali quote:

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.

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Response to Bonx (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 03:09 PM

9. Great quote

 

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