Boxing legend and social justice activist Muhammed Ali passed away on June 3, 2016 at the age of 74 after a 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was laid to rest at his hometown in Louisville, Kentucky just a week later where over 10,000 supporters celebrated his life and legacy.
Born as Cassius Clay in 1942, Ali first captivated the sports world when he defeated Sonny Liston for the World Heavyweight Championship at just 22 years old. This was his first of three heavyweight titles to go along with his Olympic Gold Medal that he won in 1960. He was one of the most gifted fighters in the history of professional boxing and he fought with an air of confidence that no one had ever seen at the time. Ali is widely regarded as the greatest athlete of all time and his Sportsman of the Century award by Sports Illustrated is just one of his many accolades that backs up his prominence.
One of his most memorable moments came in 1996 when carried the torch to light the flame at the Summer Olympics at Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves. He was living with Parkinson’s disease for about a decade at the time but he defiantly marched down and did the honors.
Ali will be remembered for being fearless, staying true to who he was, and following his faith and beliefs regardless of what others thought. He spoke with confidence, carried himself with grace, and he was humble enough to take the time out to speak and rejoice with his fans. This is one of main reasons why they called him, The People’s Champion.
In one of his famous quotes, he states, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”