“Life is so, so short. Bible says it’s like a vapor.” -Muhammad Ali
This is the legend of Muhammad Ali. The prettiest fighter there ever will be. All over the globe we loved him like our black coffee. He was even in a movie. His left punch asked us to think about racism. His right punch asked us to think about war. His name asked us to think about slavery and religion. He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. He was known for dancing and poetry. He was more than a king of the boxing ring. He was The People’s Champion, and he could sing.
It is because of Muhammad Ali that we are all a little smarter and wiser. It’s time to raise our glass high and toast, Muhammad Ali. The proverbial boxer and prophet to others. While he rests in the grave at 75, we tip our hats to a really good guy. The death we mourn happened June 3, 2016. The sweetest kiss of death our news will ever cover. Unlike most magazines, we at StoryChick don’t want to focus on Parkinson’s disease.
Ali was a strong man. He was known for his bravery and endurance. For that reason, when journalists are giving the final sentiments on this public figure’s life, we shouldn’t emphasize his weakness, but his strengths. He was a true hero. He’s like Jesus or Gandhi.
We utter his name with recognition and power. Every time we whisper his name, it secretly raises our conscious awareness all over the globe. When we mention Ali, aliens eavesdrop to gain some knowledge. He deserves so much respect, the only people who could address his life eloquently enough are dead or family. The rest of us are just outsiders looking in. Taking a stab, at a man, the myth, the legend.
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on Jan. 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, to middle-class parents, Muhammad Ali was the greatest boxer of all time and a self-declared new kind of black man. He helped reform the way we think of the Negro in America. He helped make boxing a classic sport.
Coming up in a time when blacks still had few rights and were treated like dogs, he showed the world power could be wielded by the underdog if they were willing to fight for it. He was one of the faces of change. Teaching humans to believe in themselves, fight against our enemies and let nobody take our inner values away, not even Uncle Sam.
In some ways, Ali was as metaphorical as the idea of hope. Dying in Phoenix embodied the symbolism of his passion. The mythical Phoenix, when it burns to nothing, comes back stronger.A Phoenix obtains new life by rising from the ashes of its predecessor. Just as important to the civil rights movement as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and the unknown, countless colored faces that bravely sacrificed their lives to grant us freedom, he was the face of liberation and defiance.
He changed his name from Clay to Ali to take ownership of himself. He was nobody’s slave. Muhammad Ali was a free man who would fight for the underdog.
In fact, in his story, he goes to jail for refusing to kill the poor Vietnamese. Ali lost three years of his prime sitting in prison for saying no to killing people that did him no wrong.
Why should he go all the way across the world, to kill more of the dark-skinned poor for the white man? He refused the military because he wasn’t a military brute. He wasn’t a blind, conformist, killer solider in a suit. The military wasn’t after his enemy.
His enemy was white America, not Asian Vietnam. He made an educated decision to refuse to be drafted and a pawn in a war he didn’t believe in. Why kill people in one of Asia’s smallest countries, when white people in his own country were still calling him nigger, refusing him service, hanging and lynching blacks. He was already fighting in a civil war.
Quotes from the champ himself:
“The name Muhammad is the most common name in the world. In all the countries around the world – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon – there are more Muhammads than anything else. When I joined the Nation of Islam and became a Muslim, they gave me the most famous name because I was the champ.”
“Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
“Terrorists are not following Islam. Killing people and blowing up people and dropping bombs in places and all this is not the way to spread the word of Islam. So people realize now that all Muslims are not terrorists.”
“The Nation of Islam’s main focus was teaching black pride and self-awareness. Why should we keep trying to force ourselves into white restaurants and schools when white people didn’t want us? Why not clean up our own neighborhoods and schools instead of trying to move out of them and into white people’s neighborhoods?”
Ali had 61 professional fights in his boxing career. He won 56 of those fights. 36 of his victories were pure knockouts. Can you imagine being so powerful that you can just slug a man in the chin and have him blackout on you. If only combating poverty, discrimination and injustice were as simple as knocking out Sonny Liston. Ali was crowned World Heavyweight Champion 3 times. He won the light heavyweight Olympic gold medal when he was just 18 in 1960. This was Ali’s life, a life of victory after victory.