Personal Tribute To The Greatest – Muhammad Ali

_87032434_mali2Then known as Cassius Clay, he competed in the 1960 Olympics and came home with a Gold Medal.   However, I first remember paying him attention during his second fight with Sonny Liston. I lived in Chicago then, and there were stories about people who went to the theater to watch the fight live.  It was an extra-long line waiting outside, and people were still waiting to buy tickets when the fight started.

People on the street started selling tickets to those in line so they could get inside.  What the people outside did not know was that the people selling tickets had already seen the fight.  Ali knocked Liston out in the first round.

The second time that I paid careful attention to Ali was when I was taken to a restaurant on the South Side of Chicago.  Turned out it was owned and operated by Muslims.  I enjoyed the food, and was given more of a surprise when Ali walked into the restaurant.  I was so nervous meeting the Champ that my hands were shaking.

There was controversy.  He changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, converted his religion to the Nation of Islam, and rejected the draft.  He was stripped of his heavyweight title.

Ali 1In 1977, we went to the drive-in to see the movie The Greatest.  Ali played himself.  The most powerful scene I remember from that movie is when Ali had returned home in Kentucky after winning the Olympic Gold Medal.   He went to a restaurant and was denied service because of the color of his skin.  The scene shows Ali standing on a bridge, taking his Gold Medal, and throwing it into the river.  That scene spoke volumes.  It was a wake-up call that in some places in America, no matter what a person of color accomplishes, even when making their country proud, they are still judged and treated like third-class citizens.

The song, “The Greatest Love of All” was written for that movie and song by George Benson.

“No matter what they take from me,

They can’t take away my dignity”


To me, Muhammad Ali was not a fighter — he was a boxer.  Muhammad was the sport of boxing.  I was saddened when it was announced that he had Parkinson’s disease.  That didn’t stop Ali.  He continued making appearances.  In 1996, he lit the Olympic Torch.  Also that year, his Gold Medal was replaced.

Ali 2

Motivating, humorous, encouraging, historical.  Tonight, at the age of 74, Muhammad Ali made his transition.  Our condolences to his family and friends.

Posted on 06/04/2016, in Heroes, Potpourri and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 87 Comments.

  1. yahtzeebutterfly

    I am so sad to learn that Muhammad Ali has passed on.

    I am moved by your tribute to him, Xena.

    I will never forget all that Muhammad Ali did to make this a better world.

    “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.”
    Muhammad Ali

    May he rest in peace.

    • “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.”
      Muhammad Ali” I love this!

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  3. Listening to some of his speeches and talks on YouTube made me think about how some things are today. Things he talked about in the 60’s are still issues that are going on today.

  4. Reblogged this on studiotj and commented:
    Another one of the greats has now left his fleshly body and transitioned into eternity. RIP Muhammad Ali!

  5. Today we woke up to the news That Muhammad Ali has left this world after suffering his fight with Parkinson for 3 decades, he was the only famous person diagnosed with Parkinson, who brought the disease into the lime light so to speak. By his fellow fighters and interviewers he was describe as a beautiful man, not just because of his looks but because of his character. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali (as per the radio biography of him – that i heard today), to move away from what he believed was a slave name. He didn’t go to fight in Vietnam, because he was inherently a peaceful man, He was a highly intelligent man, most of the boxing world say – he was actually beyond boxing , he was a great human being, not in one field but all, he was a kind caring , and intelligent man. RIP. Your tribute is beautiful, the uk radios and news station will be tributing him all of today – and for me it is interesting to learn more about him, there where some things I didn’t know about him. He died young 74 – but he left a legend in all aspects of the world. Boxing came to the forefront because of him otherwise it would have remained an underground sport. I am not saying i agree with boxing , but I am just listing his history that made history for him and made things changes for boxing.

    RIP to a great, beautiful, human being – not just a boxer, but an man of beauty and intelligence.

  6. “My conscious won’t let me….”

  7. Simply beautiful tribute, he will be sadly missed

  8. chuquestaquenumber1

    A legend in every sense of the world. His 2 sentences on why he wouldn’t fight in Vietnam said more than most speeches afterwards. A great boxer (Golden Gloves Champion,Olympic Gold Medal Champion,World Heavyweight Champion.) Fighter against racism.Took on all opponents in and out of the ring. Persevered even when denied the right to participate in his chosen profession. When the NOI wasn’t there,etc. The forerunner of self promotion. Muhammad Ali was the ONLY person Bruce Lee said he was afraid to fight. I end with my favorite Muhammad Ali quote: Angel food cake is the white cake,but the Devil’s Food cake is the chocolate cake.

    RIP Muhammad Ali.

    • I remember that Chuquest. He also said that if you order vanilla and chocolate ice cream, the vanilla is always put on top. It was his way of showing how thoughts of racial superiority is placed in everything.

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  13. Hey Xena! The Lord just had me read this article on a blog from a premed student in Rwanda, and is leading me to share it here with you, knowing you love and put your faith in Jesus Christ alone as the Way. Your thoughts?

    • Deanna,
      At times, people just need to come out and say what they want without beating around the bush, nor assuming that those they are speaking with will interpret everything as they do. So, in order for me to know what YOU wanted me to read in that very extensive post, I must ask, do you have a problem with eulogizing those who have passed on?

      I believe that Christ reconciled the world to the Father. I am not a universalist but a reconcilationist. I also believe what Jesus said that only the Father is good. The knowledge of good and evil calls good, evil — evil, good, and believes that God does both. Since all good comes from God, I recognize that good as being of Christ regardless of the name of the religion, Christian denomination, or no religion at all.

      So, Muhammad Ali was Muslim, and Prince was Jehovah’s Witness, and that is suppose to mean that Christians are suppose to condemn them to hell? Is that the problem that the writer of that post has? The languages of Babylon are not the language of the Christ, who said a tree is known by its fruit. Right now, if both were alive, I would prefer being in a room with them rather than religiously prejudiced people.

      I would like for you to read something in your free time. Since the blog you referred me to read speaks of hell, I would like for you to read “What the Hell is Hell?”

      It is for freedom that Christ set us free. (Gal. 5:1) There is freedom in not looking under rocks for things to judge others, and particularly other Christians. I say this in love with no condemnation.

    • Well Deanna,
      I am very happy that the Lord led you to have me read the article, because it causes me to see that maybe you are in need of learning. You see, I have no clue what you mean by “Jesus Christ alone as the Way.” Jesus healed the Roman centurions servant without requiring him to convert to Judaism. Upon hearing about the death of Lazarus, Jesus wept.

      The way of Christ is doing no evil, giving to all to ask and expecting nothing in return, and loving all. The first people who believed that Jesus is the Messiah were called the Way because they walked his walk. The Apostle Paul said he was crucified with Christ, and Jesus said if we want to be his disciples, that we had to pick up our cross and follow him. You know, being crucified means having no use of your hands or feet. We cannot do our own works, nor walk our own walk. It’s not in the talking, nor the evangelizing, but in the walk.

      • You say you have no clue what is meant by Jesus Christ alone as being the Way. Here, then, is very important information for you:

        “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Spoken by Jesus Christ – John 14:6)

        “No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:23)

        “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed I the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)

        That, dear Xena, is what is meant by saying that Jesus Christ alone is the Way.

        This gospel is the power of God for the salvation for everyone who believes.
        EVERYONE who believes it – NO one is excepted – ALL are called to receive it! Whatever form of idolatry we have been practicing does not matter – it is ours if only we receive it. ❤️

        • Deanna,

          “You say you have no clue what is meant by Jesus Christ alone as being the Way. Here, then, is very important information for you:”

          No, I said that I have no clue what you mean by “Jesus Christ alone as the Way.”

          You’re preaching to the choir, Deanna. To avoid the spirit of “If thou be a son of God then …” I won’t say more about that. It does help to have mutual respect and not attempt to exalt authority over others.

        • yahtzeebutterfly


          Just a thought that you may wish to consider:

          Consider the idea that heaven exists in the moments when a soul consciously invites God’s spirit to dwell within that soul’s being. Consider also that eternal heaven is the uninterrupted dwelling of God’s spirit within souls during eternity.

          I think God’s spirit dwelled all the time in Jesus.

          • Hello there! The first two thoughts for consideration are slightly twisted from the truth shared above. Deception can be subtle. Yes, indeed, God’s spirit dwelt in Jesus all the time. That very same spirit can come to dwell in any human being – causing them to be reborn, for we all died in Adam – if they receive the gift described above, dear butterfly. It’s absolutely astounding, being made new by grace through faith in Jesus Christ! We who once were idolaters become His temple, members of His Body, His Bride. 💕

            • yahtzeebutterfly


              What do you imagine a being/soul with God’s Spirit dwelling within that being/soul would be like?

            • I don’t have to imagine – I have given my life to Christ. You don’t have to imagine either – you can know it today. He is ours for the asking!

            • Deanna,
              I think that as blog administrator here, I have to draw a line. PLEASE DO NOT DISRESPECT MY PARTICIPANTS HERE BY JUDGING THEM ACCORDING TO YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. You just spiritually insulted a person I know that walks the walk of Christ. She has more Christ in her little finger than some of the self-righteous internet preachers who think that no one is saved unless THEY save them.

            • Deanna,

              “We who once were idolaters …”

              Is that what you think all people are unless they believe as you do?

            • yahtzeebutterfly

              For you Deanna:

      • Hey Xena. I just obtained this bio about the author of that piece, Darrell B. Harrison.
        Darrell Harrison is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. He currently resides in Covington, Georgia (about 45 miles east of Atlanta). Darrell attends Rockdale Community Church, a Reformed Baptist congregation located in the Atlanta suburb of Conyers, Georgia. Darrell is a 2013 Fellow of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute (BTLI) of Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, and is a 2015 graduate of the Theology and Ministry program at Princeton Theological Seminary. Darrell studied at the undergraduate level at Liberty University, where he maintained a 4.0 GPA majoring in Psychology with a specialization in Christian Counseling. Darrell was the first African-American to be ordained as a Deacon in the 200-year history of First Baptist Church of Covington (Georgia) where he attended from 2009 to 2015. He is an ardent student of theology and apologetics, and enjoys reading theologians such as Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, and B.B. Warfield. Darrell is an advocate of expository teaching and preaching, and has a particular passion for seeing expository preaching become the standard within the Black Church.

        • Deanna,
          Why should I exalt Darrell Harrison or anyone else for that matter? I wish Harrison the best in his walk. By the way, did you read the bios on the sites that I recommended?

          • You shouldn’t, which brings us full circle to the primary message He is relaying to us here via His servant Darrell Harrison. Deceit is often subtle – idolatry and false religions abound – Christ is the only Way of salvation for ALL who will receive the grace.

            • Deanna,

              “Deceit is often subtle – idolatry and false religions abound – “

              But you’re the one here who started preaching religion, and that without understanding that I’m spiritual, but not religious. I don’t care about the labels of Babylon — a tree is known by its fruit.

              That leads to a question I asked earlier that you didn’t answer; i.e., do you have anything against eulogies?

              Computers are created by man. The internet was created by man, and even Word Press was created by man. Because you appreciate these creations and use them, are they your idols? If your computer was taken away permanently, would you speak of how it served a benefit or would doing so mean that you idolized it?

              I’m sure you don’t worship the created, but your perception of idolatry is that recognizing the good in anything is idolatry. You don’t even give man the honor of being used by God to do good things for people, (remembering that Jesus said only the Father is good).

              Who the Son sets free is free indeed. It must be very burdensome on you to look under every rock to fault-find and then use the spirit of fear (which God doesn’t give to us) by using words such as “deception” and “idolatry” because you cannot get your point across through the ways of love and understanding.

  14. Hey Roach! As I’m sharing with Xena also, the Lord just had me read this article on a blog I just started following of a dear young brother, a premedical student in Rwanda. Now He is boldly working through me (no way I’d do this of my own, I assure you!!) to share the article with you, and ask what you think. Please know this comes in love, and nothing else!

  15. yahtzeebutterfly

    Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.
    ~Muhammad Ali

    • Yahtzee,
      That is so true. All truth comes from God. All good comes from God. He is no respector of persons and as I remember the Bible, he even used a donkey to convey a reality.

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  17. The Lord is accomplishing His purpose. Care to praise Him with me?

  18. yahtzeebutterfly

    Muhammad Ali certainly had fun with this poetry:

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    Muhammad Ali was a man of great faith.

  20. yahtzeebutterfly

    In his tribute poem to Muhammad Ali, Haki Madhubuti wrote:

    … he was our butterfly, bee and hawk,
    principled actor on an international stage that
    gave us voice, nerve and spiritual depth…

    You can read the rest of his poem here:

  21. Lennox Lewis. (fanning)

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  28. Lennox Lewis was inspired by Muhammad Ali.

  29. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Here Is Some Fatherly Advice, From Muhammad Ali”
    (includes audio of it as he talks with his daughter)


    In the upcoming documentary “I Am Ali,” there is audio from an adorable, inspiring phone conversation between Muhammad Ali, considered by many to be the greatest boxer to ever live, and his young daughter, Maryum. The back and forth gives rare insight to Ali’s life outside of the ring.

    “So everything the God made, the cows, horses, the moon, stars, ants, everything has a purpose,” Ali tells Maryum. “Now what’s your purpose? You’re a human being. If God made the sun have a purpose, humans have a purpose too. You haven’t found your life purpose yet have you?”

    “Yes,” she replies.

    “If everybody was born for a purpose, what do you think you were born for?”

    “To make people feel better,” Maryum answers. “To fix people up.”

    “That’s good,” Ali says proudly. “That’s good, Maryum.”

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    This tweet has a link to live streaming of Muhammad Ali’s funeral today:

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    Large crowd:

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    Wonderful tweet:

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  42. I’m watching the Memorial on ESPN now.

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