In the wake of Muhammad Ali’s death a couple of days ago, there has of course been saturation coverage of his life and legacy, and he certainly led a life that warrants the attention. There is no doubt that he was an exceptional athlete and a world icon as a larger than life personality, about which I am of two minds. I didn’t care much for Cassius Clay in the 1960s and early 1970s—the total lack of humility, the narcissism, the “Louisville Lip”, and “The Greatest” routine (incidentally, much of which bluster now smacks of a certain current presidential candidate), and I resented his refusal to report for military service. However, later in life as he mellowed, even before contracting the Parkinson’s disease that finally took him, I grew to respect his humane spirituality, which I believe drove his positive role as an ambassador for civil rights and as a humanitarian. RIP.
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