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Muhammad Ali, the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who helped define his turbulent times as the most charismatic and controversial sports figure of the 20th century, died on Friday in a Phoenix-area hospital. He was 74. His death was confirmed by Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman.
Hier ein linker Haken aus dem Nichts: Muhammad Ali war wahrscheinlich der Social Justice Warrior überhaupt, Antikriegs-, Bürgerrechts- und African-American-CivRights-Aktivist, Slave-Name-Changer, snip von der New York Times: „His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his 'slave' name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition“.
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.“
Legends never die.
Aus einem 1975er Interview im Playboy:
I’ll tell you how I’d like to be remembered: as a black man who won the heavyweight title and who was humorous and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him and who helped as many of his people as he could—financially and also in their fight for freedom, justice and equality. As a man who wouldn’t hurt his people’s dignity by doing anything that would embarrass them. As a man who tried to unite his people through the faith of Islam that he found when he listened to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. And if all that’s asking too much, then I guess I’d settle for being remembered only as a great boxing champion who became a preacher and a champion of his people.
And I wouldn’t even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was.
Rest in Power, Muhammad.
If it wasn’t for the lure of free food, Muhammad Ali may never have boxed. As the 12-year-old Cassius Clay he pedalled on his red and white Schwinn bike to the Louisville Home Show, an exhibition for black businesses, for the free popcorn, hot dogs and candy. But when he left, his bike was gone. A stranger suggested he speak to a policeman, Joe Martin, at the nearby Columbia gym. As Ali later related in his autobiography, The Greatest: “I ran downstairs crying but the sights and sounds and smell of boxing excited me so much that I almost forgot about the bike.” As Clay left, Martin tapped him on the shoulder. “By the way, we got boxing every night, Monday through Friday, from six to eight. Here’s an application in case you want to join.”
The Beatles had only been in America for 11 days when they found themselves herded into Miami Beach's 5th Street Gym for a photo op with a 22-year-old boxer named Cassius Clay. It was February 18th, 1964, and the band was in town to film their second appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Clay was prepping for his big fight with Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston, but he was a 7-1 underdog and anxious to drum up ticket sales and press attention.
Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.
But he was more than the sum of his athletic gifts. An agile mind, a buoyant personality, a brash self-confidence and an evolving set of personal convictions fostered a magnetism that the ring alone could not contain. He entertained as much with his mouth as with his fists, narrating his life with a patter of inventive doggerel. (“Me! Wheeeeee!”)
Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition.
Loved or hated, he remained for 50 years one of the most recognizable people on the planet.
Hunter S. Thompsons 1978er Portrait im Rolling Stone: Muhammad Ali: Last Tango in Vegas.
When I'm gone, boxing will be nothing again. The fans with the cigars and the hats turned down'll be there, but no more housewives and little men in the street and foreign presidents. It's goin' to be back to the fighter who comes to town, smells a flower, visits a hospital, blows a horn and says he's in shape. Old hat. I was the onliest boxer in history people asked questions like a senator.
"Stallone doesn't have the moves It's perfect acting, though. The regular average layman couldn't see what I see. And the way they're painting the trainer is all wrong. Look at him there, screaming, Do this! and Do that! I never had anyone telling me what to do. I did it. Shouting at the fighter like that makes him look like an animal, like a horse to be trained."
Is there any way, I asked, that the character of Rocky is inspired by you?
"No way. Rocky doesn't act nothing like me. Apollo Creed, the way he dances, the way he jabs, the way he talks...That's me."