We lost a legend in the sports world on Friday night. More importantly, the world lost a good man.
Three-time world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist Muhammad Ali passed away at the age of 74 on June 3, 2016. Reports claim Ali suffered breathing with complications from Parkinson’s disease.
There are many great reports on Ali’s legacy from ABC News and ESPN to the UFC. Even WWE acknowledged his passing due to his history with the company. He was part of the first WrestleMania, after all.
We can discuss Ali’s legacy as a boxer, how he took down George Foreman at Rumble in the Jungle. We can go in detail on his three wars with the late “Smokin” Joe Frazier.
We can also go in depth of his battles as an activist. He accepted any one of color and refused to enlist in the Vietnam War after being drafted by the U.S. government.
In the end, let’s discuss the man formerly known as Cassius Clay.
It’s no surprise that his legacy is felt to this day. Muhammad Ali was ahead of his time and was that type person that arrives once in a lifetime. He was outspoken on any issue you wanted to talk with him and was fearless in doing so.
Yet, behind Ali’s bravado was kindness. Ali wouldn’t just fight an opponent or discuss world issues that matter. He spent time with people as much as possible. He was a huge competitor only matched by his heart.
Muhammad Ali truly was The People’s Champion. He was the greatest. No, he is The Greatest.
Muhammad Ali was a pioneer for athletes. He wasn’t widely accepted for his beliefs in his prime, but no one really is. When teams wear shirts for a cause that isn’t exactly “PC,” they push the envelope ever so slightly. Even though you won’t see the brash bravado rise, they still care at what happens around them.
That’s a sign of what Ali has done. He’s paved the way for athletes to speak their mind and be fearless while doing so.
How can we continue Muhammad Ali’s legacy? How will we remember him? Perhaps the better question is, how should we remember him?
The answer is right in front of us. We remember Ali not as a boxer, an athlete or even activist; we must remember him as a fighter.
Muhammad Ali saw something he didn’t like and went against the grain. He did it because it was right, something that’s sorely missing in today’s era.
If we did something right that benefits the world, even in a small way, we carry on the legacy of Muhammad Ali. After all, Ali said it himself: Impossible is nothing.
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