Ali. Now There Was A Man.

When I was a kid, Muhammad Ali was a ubiquitous media figure, whether he was fighting or being interviewed or selling cologne on the television. I missed the early years of his ds_24ali353_20120724220624672219-300x0career, and only learned about the political aspects of his fame much later. (a link to a fantastic article on Ali follows my post).  As I encountered him, he was just one of the pantheon, a star of stars. Race, religion, and politics never entered into the equation any more than they did when I thought of my other childhood heroes: Willie Stargell, Mean Joe Green, and Mr. Rogers. I never realized until later just how bright Ali shined, the star among stars.  Like many of my generation, we looked back on Ali with new interest long after he’d faded from public view, after he returned to the world stage at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, his trembling arm raised to alilight the Olympic flame, a man refusing to be bowed by age or the horribly ironic Parkinson’s that clawed at his body. I’ll never forget sitting in a restaurant near Wilson, Wyoming, drinking beer and eating pizza with friends, watching The Greatest ascend to light the torch, my eyes moist with respect and admiration. I cannot think of a person more deserving of the title, American Hero. He surely was that–as flawed as the rest of us, but possessed of a drive and determination that not only made him literally the greatest fighter of all time, but which drove him to risk everything for his beliefs, even when that meant potentially losing his career as well as his freedom. It is rare for us to see men who even come close to Ali’s stature. More is the pity.

6 responses to “Ali. Now There Was A Man.”

  1. I was lucky enough to meet him, some twenty years ago. Still remains one of my favourite memories. And although it was clear to see he was struggling, his determination to not give up (never mind all the other great things he did) is something we should all try to live by. Very sad to see him say goodnight.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m envious you got to meet him, and you’re absolutely right about his determination. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. He was a true hero. I man of independent thought and action.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. He was definitely a man of his convictions. I have so much respect for him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been disappointed–though not surprised–to hear how many people rant against him as a “draft dodger” when I think that stance was remarkably brave and selfless.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Aside from his fights, his appearance on Parkinson is a memory that will remain. At one stage he was considered the most recognizable human being on the planet.

    Liked by 1 person

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