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."
"I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale;
handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail;
only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick;
I'm so mean I make medicine sick."
"Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up."
"If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you."
"Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change."
"I never thought of losing, but now that it's happened, the only thing is to do it right. That's my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life."
"To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich."
"The only thing that matters is submitting to the will of God."
"I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others."
"A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life."
"It's lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself."
"It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up."
"A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he'll never crow. I have seen the light and I'm crowing."
"Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong."
"I've seen George Foreman shadow boxing, and the shadow won."
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."
"My toughest fight was with my first wife."
"I'll beat him so bad he'll need a shoehorn to put his hat on."
"This life is not real. I conquered the world and it did not bring me satisfaction."
Mark's Musings is published on an occasional basis but that may change without notice. This blog is considered to be a digital periodical publication and is filed as such with the U.S. Library of Congress; ISSN 2154-9761. Most of these quotations sourced at BrainyQuote.com.