Born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, as Cassius Clay, he will be forever known simply as “The Greatest.” – Derrick Z. Jackson
In the spring of 1967, Ali refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War because he did not believe in it. He was able to see all the evil that was happening and refused to get behind it. As Muhammad waited to go on trial and have his heavyweight title revoked, several African-American athletes, led by future NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown, held a meeting with Ali in Cleveland. In 2012, Brown said "I felt with Ali taking the position he was taking, and with him losing the crown, and with the government coming at him with everything they had, that we as a body of prominent athletes could get the truth and stand behind Ali and give him the necessary support."
This coming together of African-American men inspired Martin Luther King Jr., causing him to make a valiant statement about Vietnam "Every young man in this country who believes that this war is abominable and unjust should file as a conscientious objector."
Ali is considered to be the greatest boxer of all time, with a professional record of 56-5. He lost his heavyweight title in 1971, but his conversion to Islam only made him more determined. At the age of 32, Ali was in a fight against George Foreman to reclaim his title. He used his famous "rope-a-dope" technique to tire out his opponent. In the 8th round, Ali knocked him out, reclaiming the title he had lost 10 years earlier.
“Muhammad indicated that when the end came for him, he wanted us to use his life and his death as a teaching moment for young people, for his country and for the world.”- Lonnie Ali (Muhammad Ali's widow)
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