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Muhammad Ali,  what can we say about the cocky, arrogant, man who is full of charm and charisma. Full of life, full of zeal and always a willing participant to giving his knowledge and love freely. He Truly is a remarkable man. He is a shining star.

Muhammad Ali is known by so many as his own creed states, “THE GREATEST OF ALL TIMES”. And that is exactly what he is. Sure there was a time when he lost a fight. Of course there was a time when he was defeated, but his heart, his agenda and his WILL always stayed in tact. Till the end, he remained Ali.

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During the Vietnam War, he was adamant on his position against fighting a war that wasn’t his. While so many other black men either through feeling guilt or responsibility to fight chose to fight, or were forced to fight, Ali knew that this fight wasn’t his and refused to participate in the draft. There is no way he could have known the consequences of his decision, but yet he blindly stated, “No Vietcong never called me nigger.” He couldn’t have known that they would strip him of his title, his belt, and was banned from fighting for 3 years. He STILL maintained his stance and refused to buckle. That’s a true hero. He was arrested because of this very personal choice. He won the respect and adoration of many during this time. But it wasn’t for the fame. It was just who he was. He knew who his oppressors were. He knew his race. He understood his culture. He fought against a system that fought against him. He had college students of all races tuning in to his speeches. He had the ear of certain politicians. He was in every household as a prominent figure to either hate or love.

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The fact that a boxer, just a man who likes to quarrel. Just a man who likes to get in the ring and knock fools out, Just a man who changed his name and decided that he would not be called what they named him, he would in fact create the identity that he felt he deserved. There is nothing wrong with that man. A man who by any means necessary refused to be another nigger. He refused to settle and sell out. He refused to be nothing but The people’s Champ. HE was able to become all things to all men, and he made it look easy. That’s what courage does. Not just courage but courage under fire. When you have no opposition,  it’s easy to climb the ladder. But that wasn’t the case with Ali. There were people who wanted him dead. Death threats rang true during that era. Yet he continued on. He didn’t let fear stop him. I’m certain that he perhaps felt fear for the safety of his friends and loved ones, but he continued.

Many men and women can attest to their lives being given shape because of Ali. He was and will continue to be an inspiration. images (6)

He lays in a bed tonight with his family beside him. And those he impacted are sending their prayers and well wishes.

I wanted to write this blog because to me he is the epitome of a true athlete. Yes personal possession is great. Having celebrity is wonderful. But when you have a resume as impressive as his, you can call yourself the Greatest. He was an advocate for peace and travelled to Iraq to meet with Saddamm Hussein in an effort to get hostages released. President Reagan invited him to the White House along with Jimmy Carter. He was a man of substance. He set the standard for what an athlete could be. It’s not about taking selfies with thousands of dollars as you lie in bed alone. It’s not about creating a facade and giving an aura of conceit. It’s about being real and genuine. Letting people see your struggles. Letting the human side of you show. Allowing the people who love you to touch you and you in turn touch them. Ali was touchable. Unlike many athletes today whose only purpose to attain the spotlight is to brag about all their wealth. His money didn’t define him. His heart did and his words as well.  A man is what his actions show, and although Ali wasn’t a perfect man, he made mistakes, those aren’t what he should be remembered for. He should be known for an uprising in the black community. He should be known for giving a voice and being a voice for America’s youth of all races. Even though he as a black man stood up against this war, men and women of all races should have felt compelled to agree and join him.  Ali is quoted to say,

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This guy never surrendered to the injustices. He never faltered against the society that didn’t think he deserved to be a citizen. He didn’t want to fight a war when Many whites would yell, “Go home nigger”to his face where he was born. Who would fight for that sort of treatment? Can you blame him? If today you still have a problem with Mr. Ali, then that’s just your problem. It wouldn’t change a thing about his legacy,  so you might as well join him.

I don’t want to talk about his religion, because I’m Atheist. We shared different views. But Ali was a different kind of religious man. He was bold and graceful. He was eloquent and sensible, but relatable. I don’t think he would have taken spit to the face. That made him a dangerous man. He wasn’t one to back down from a challenge and often would instigate a fight. He was good at getting in your head, and found it comical when he could affect your mood. He had great power. I can see myself in him. He wasn’t the traditional guy when it came to his god. He wasn’t passive. He felt like he had his instructions,  but he also felt that he had his burden. It was a burden that he cared for. A burden that he nurtured. After getting sick with Parkinsons,  he didn’t disappear into the shadows. Ali still felt there was work to be done.

As I am writing this story, Ali has passed away.

I am saddened as I write this. It’s tough. I started before it was announced because I knew that he would not live through the night.

I’m honored to write this about someone so indescribable that words can’t capture his spirit. There isn’t a fighter today that can say that he didn’t influence them in the ring. I love his fighting spirt. His personality. So outspoken. He was a force to be reckoned with. As I struggle with my thoughts about a global revolution AGAINST oppression that I still feel is relevant today, I’m reminded of Ali. And I think, WWAD. WHAT WOULD ALI DO?

He wanted change. He wasn’t afraid to defend his rights. He wasn’t afraid to be different. He knew he was unique and no one compared to him. He was a true warrior’s warrior. His fighting spoke for itself. Every champion has to know how to lose. He lost with dignity. He has 5 losses on his record and 56 wins!! This is pretty fucking impressive! I’m a boxing lover and MMA nut. So when I say that’s fantastic, it is. I still regardless of the fact that Mayweather has the title of undefeated, he will NEVER join the ranks of Ali. Undefeated is just a title. It doesn’t speak for the changes that he implemented and encouraged in his lifetime.

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Everyone loved Ali including Prince!

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Quotes by Ali

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“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?

My enemy is the white people, not the Viet Cong … You’re my opposer when I want freedom. You’re my opposer when I want justice. You’re my opposer when I want equality. You won’t even stand up for me in America because of my religious beliefs, and you want me to go somewhere and fight, when you won’t even stand up for my religious beliefs at home.