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Thread: Muhammad Ali

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    Default Muhammad Ali

    Muhammad Ali, 'The Greatest,' dies at 74



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    Another boomer icon has passed, one who made it to 74 despite some serious health conditions. "THE Greatest", Muhhamad Ali, the most recognized sports figure of the 20th Century, a legend in his mind before he was a legend in his time.

    He was entertaining, self-promoting, damn good-looking, funny as hell and true to his word.
    He was great to watch, and he dominated whatever venue he was in. Ali would rift with the sportscasters. He'd create metaphors of bees and rope-a-dopes, then he would look fierce, would spout a clever, 4x4 iambic pentameter and would predict in which round his opponent would go down, then he'd go do it.
    After the fight--"I TOLD you-- I AM The Greatest !!"
    But Ali was not just sports.
    He was also a social activist.

    Early in his public career he converted to Islam--the sect led by Elijah Mohammed of Chicago. The Black Muslims, a group both feared and loathed by the government. By using his high visibility and universal appeal, Ali spoke out. He was opposed to the Vietnam War and refused to be drafted, he was stripped of titles an licenses to box and denied a livelihood only to roar back 4 years later to victories and wealth. He was a principal figure in the Civil Rights movement and became one of the most photographed people, ever.
    Everybody across the World instantly recognized Ali.
    After his amazing boxing career was done, Ali was struck with Parkinson's, which robbed him of his ability to gracefully bounce around. It also, in a striking irony, robbed The Champ from ever again speaking out. The ability to make up rhyme or brag on himself was taken from him, the Mouth was silenced.

    I remember watching him light the Olympic Torch a few games back, seeing his hands shake and his legs wobble. He said nothing, just lit the fire, and I was saddened, seeing from memory the young, vibrant Ali inside the shell of the diseased one...

    ...Salaam, Ali...

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