Muhammad Ali, RIP

As the 20th century was preparing to segue into the 21st, it was commonplace for people in various settings to offer opinions about the greatest people, events, movies, sports figures, and other categories of the 20th. I had my own preferences for the greatest sports figures, with Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, and Muhammad Ali comprising my top three. Of those three, Ali was my choice for the best. While I have never been a fan of boxing – and sometimes have a difficult time accepting it as a sport – its is clear that Ali was not only a great athlete, but one of the greatest performers in that sport. Still, what elevated him to the top of my three-man list was his sense of integrity: he refused to compromise himself by succumbing to the demands of the American war system to be drafted into the military, a decision that led to his conviction – which was later reversed by the United States Supreme Court. He was a very outspoken and continuous critic of the Vietnam War, having said that “no Vietcong ever called me Nigger.” When so many others continued to lower the price for their own liberty, Ali stood his ground, even when saying “no” was a threat not only to his liberty, but to his ability to engage in the boxing skills for which he had such a talent. Men and women of integrity always die too young at any age. Ali was 74.


12:49 am on June 4, 2016

Political Theatre

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts