Friday, June 03, 2016

He's Gone

I was not initially a fan of Muhammad Ali, much like I didn't root for the New York Yankees or the Green Bay Packers.  He was America's anti-hero in the 60s.  A man you loved to root against. I was always rooting for the underdog.  Ali was the greatest, seemingly invincible and he did more than transcend his sport, he WAS his sport. 
You had to understand boxing back then.  Today it's a niche sport,but in the 60s it was  totally mainstream. It was as big as the NFL back then. Ali (or Cassius Clay as he was originally known)  ruled Boxing.
He shocked the world by refusing to step forward for the draft.  He was stripped of his title and not allowed to fight.  When he was finally allowed to return, the anticipation was immense.  He was also known for his give and takes with Howard Cosell.  Cosell unabashedly stood up for Ali when it was not the most popular thing to do and their mutual respect was clear amidst what looked like an attention rivalry.  If there was a figure that was most emblematic of the era where we grew up, it was Muhammad Ali.

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