Thursday, June 9, 2016

Related imageHe was self-proclaimed as the greatest. Tomorrow 15,000 free tickets were given out for a big memorial service in his honor. If you didn’t remember him he reminds me of Donald Trump in his bold brash pompousness.  The legend who died last week at ussions and Parkinson’s disease. It all started when someone stole his bicycle as a child. He went to get it back and realized that he couldn’t fight.  It was then that he learned and then eventually became the one holding the title as a three times  World  Champion Boxer.
It was the time in history when segregation was a problem. How can he be an American hero with an Olympic Gold Medal but then told that because he was black that he wouldn’t be served food in the same place as white people? That is when he became a lightning rod both in the rink and out of the boxing box. In the rink he had a mouth. He would say stuff like, “I’m handsome, I’m fast and can’t possibly be beat,I’mlikI’m light as a feather and I sting like a bee.” He was born in Kentucky and even after he won a lot of stuff at times he felt like he was being treated like a second class citizen.  He threw his Olympic medal into a river in disgust. He then began to win every boxing match and spoke out politically to all.
It was the beginning of the civil rights movement and he was a fan of Dr.  King and joined him in his marches. He joined the Nation of Islam and rejected what he called his slave name. He was a revolutionary by race and stood up for his politics.politics. Like Donald Trump he was vilified by many people yet also admired  by people for being aan outspoken black person. He refused to serve in the Vietnam War arguing that it violated his Muslim beliefs. Donald refuses to run his campaign like any other candidate.  Ali was convicted of draft evasion and stripped of his title  Maybe he should have kept his old name Cassius Clay. He was banned from the sport.
Who has the nerve to give up a career for their beliefs? He would have verbal debates with reporters and join in with celebrity appearances and entertain audiences. It took Ali almost three years to win on appeal from the Supreme Court to be able to get back in the rink. Then he fought Frasier in The Rumble In The Jungle a highly advertised match and recaptured his title.  Ali had some of boxing’s greatest fights.  He became one of the most popular figures of his time. He had the cover picture on Sports Illustrated magazine 35 times from 1963 to 1998. The years of getting pounded to his head took all the speech out of his mouth. Imagine what must have been going through his mind. What frustration or perhaps finally peace.
Ali retired from boxing in 1981 three years later at the age of 42 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Who gets an old man’s shaking disease at only 42? This man had gone through many obstacles in his life. He continued to raise millions of dollars for charity.  Recently Will Smith played him in a major movie.  Obama gave him a medal of honor. Joe Lewis was the first well known American boxer but Ali made everyone listen to a black man.                                                             

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