There are many wonderful — nay, great things we could say about the late Muhammad Ali.
He was a boxer, a poet, a champion for those with Parkinson’s…but to many, he was also a hero.
He famously spoke out against racism saying, “Hating people because of their color is wrong and it doesn’t matter which color does the hating, it’s just plain wrong.”
The boxer, nicknamed The Greatest, also famously refused to go to war in Vietnam.
Citing religious reasons for not wanting to fight — Ali had converted to Islam when he was just 22 — the man spoke out saying, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on [Vietnamese] people while [African Americans] in Louisville are treated like dogs.”
But what many people don’t realize is how much of an impact he made in the shadows, too. For instance, in 1980, Ali talked a man down from committing suicide.
According to additional reports, Ali’s public relations manager saw the scene and knew that his client lived nearby. He asked the police if he could help, but they turned down the assistance. Howard Bingham called the boxer anyway and told him about the situation. Just minutes later, Ali showed up and it only took him a mere 20 minutes to get the man to hear him out.
When he announced to the world in 1984 that he had Parkinson’s disease, he didn’t let the diagnosis hold him back.
He used the rest of his years to help those in need, working with organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Special Olympics, and raising funds for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.
In 2005, Ali was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Muhammad Ali’s legacy will live on through his friends, his philanthropy efforts, and through all the lives he touched — both on screen and in person. Our thoughts go out to his family during this sad time.