Muhammad Ali, the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who helped define his turbulent times as the most charismatic and controversial sports figure of the 20th century, died at age 74, the New York Times reports.
“Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his ‘slave’ name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition.”
David Remnick: “Ali was not to be mistaken for a political leader or a thinker, but he had political importance as a symbol of refusal, of black pride. And, along with his importance as a symbol, particularly to young people facing the draft or marching in the streets, there was a level of glamour without parallel even among the rock gods of the time.”Save to Favorites