Another legend from my childhood passes away and this one more than Bowie or more than Prince, has an impact.
Muhammad Ali or Cassius Clay as he was originally named, was part of my early childhood in 1970’s and I remember watching his fights on TV with my Dad, who was a massive boxing fan, when there were only 3 channels, yes I am that old.
Even as a child I liked the rebel, I liked someone who stood out, who challenged things, who was not part of the establishment, who was prepared to be different.
I didn’t know his story really then, although I remember my Dad telling me some of it, however, I instinctively liked him and he was a childhood hero.
To me, and it is all opinion, he will always be the greatest boxer and in a time when for me boxing was still a great sport with true legends. It had not been so totally corrupted by money and greed then.
This is one of my favourite quotes of his:
“Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it, and I didn’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name, and I insist people using it when speaking to me and of me.”
I’m a huge fan of Brene Brown and she talks in her books about vulnerability and the courage it takes to step into the ‘ring’, ‘get knocked down’ and rise up strong. Well, Ali literally did that inside and outside of the ring all his life. To me, he was a brave man, who was not afraid to be vulnerable. He also went on to do lots of great things in his life despite having Parkinsons disease.
A great man, a great inspiration, a true rebel and the greatest boxer – RIP