Muhammad Ali died of a respiratory illness last June at the age of 74, and today, he would have turned 75 years old. He is still one of the most recognizable figures in the world, athlete or not, and his life transcended sport and his great boxing career.
That greatness continues in his memory.
Ali’s family has asked that people “be like Ali” by participating in Muhammad Ali 75, which asks people to volunteer 75 hours of their time in 2017 to whatever cause that’s dear to them. His widow, Lonnie Ali, told the Washington Post:
“(Ali)often said ‘service is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. The time has come for all of us to pick up the torch from Mohammad and shine our own lights on the places and people who have been in the shadows for too long.”
Sometimes, Ali’s other amazing achievements were overshadowed by his boxing accomplishments. While this image of him standing over a vanquished Sonny Liston may be his most iconic…
… a boxer was not all he was. President George W. Bush awarded him the President Medal of Freedom in 2005. He fought for equal rights, and was jailed for refusing the serve in Vietnam because he was a proponent of peace. When he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he started the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center in Phoenix. He visited refugee camps, appeared at countless charity events and promoted peace where ever he could.
Yes, he was a greatest heavyweight boxer ever (56-5 37 knockouts), and beat every top contender in his division during what is commonly referred to as the golden age of the heavyweight division.
But on his birthday, many are remembering Ali the man, who’s legacy far outstripped his greatness in the ring.