By the time you read this, you probably may know that Muhammad Ali just died from complications from Parkinson’s Disease in a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of our greatest sports legends has left this mortal world of ours. Besides being a champion in his sport, he was a champion in his own right as a principled human being. He was the real deal, whom very few could be compared to.
While some would say that some of his political actions, like refusing to serve in Vietnam, should overshadow his many accomplishments. I’m not one of those. Over the decades, Ali has proven to be a champ for human rights and peace just as much as he was in the ring. Many of his former “political” enemies have long since changed their hearts and minds. He has gone on to be an ambassador for Peace. He has been generous with both his fortune and time. Even as he was struggling with Parkinson’s, he managed to give his best. We were all amazed when he showed up at the Olympics in 1996, and also for all the other deeds.
Muhammad Ali was a true sportsman. He had many opportunities early in his career to sell out, but didn’t. At the height of his career he walked away out of principle. And principle was the thing that best defined him the most. But he was also the ultimate showman, the man knew how to play the crowd, in a way he was a champion marketer that way as he was in the ring.
But after all the fights, when the last bell had rung, Ali was still there for his fans. He was there to try and build bridges. He wanted a more peaceful better world for his children and the children of his fans and even those that weren’t his fans. One has to wonder if we will ever see a man like him again.
Rest in Peace and Assalamu alaikum (Peace be upon you) Muhammad Ali.