Cassius Marcellus Clay, Junior was born in January of 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. He began training to become a professional boxer at age 12. At age 22, he defeated Sonny Liston in a stunning upset to become the world heavyweight champion. Shortly afterward, he joined the nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He was convicted as a draft dodger in 1967, when he refused to enter the military as a conscript, citing his new religious beliefs. It took four years, but his case eventually went to the Supreme Court, where his conviction was overturned.
He fathered nine children, won three heavyweight boxing titles, and won an Olympic Gold Medal for boxing in 1960. He nicknamed himself "The Greatest," and was not afraid to talk openly about being a black man in a white man's world as well as other racial and religious issues. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1984 and he passed away in Arizona this past Friday, June 3.
THE WIT and WISDOM OF MUHAMMAD ALI
"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."