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Boxing, Commentary, Muhammad Ali, Remembering The Champ -

Muhammad Ali began boxing at the age of 12 because something was taken from him. Perhaps embarking on a career in boxing was an overzealous response to the theft of his red Schwinn bike, but in hindsight, the seemingly quotidian burglary might have been as consequential to history as the abduction of Helen from Troy. […]

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Athlete Activism, Bill Russell, Cleveland Summit, Commentary, Harry Edwards, Jim Brown, Remembering The Champ -

On June 4, 1967, Jim Brown hosted what we now call the Cleveland Summit. A collection of great black athletes of the era met with Muhammad Ali to discuss his decision to be a conscientious objector. I was a 16-year-old junior at Harlan High School in Chicago. Harry Edwards was a 24-year-old Cornell University doctoral […]

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Bill Russell, Bob Arum, Boxing, Cleveland Summit, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali, Remembering The Champ, Social Activism, Vietnam War -

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, June 4, 1967. Some of the greatest black athletes in the country gathered in a nondescript office building in Cleveland. According to legend — and countless media reports in subsequent years that failed to challenge that legend — the athletes had come together to decide whether to lend their […]

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Boxing, Cover Stories, Muhammad Ali, Remembering The Champ -

It’s usually hard to pinpoint the exact moment a bright star goes supernova. But Muhammad Ali did that very thing in April 1968, thanks in large part to Esquire magazine’s cover of the world’s most famous and controversial athlete “dressed” as St. Sebastian, the third-century Christian martyr. In hindsight, Ali-as-St. Sebastian was both a stroke […]

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Boxing, Donald Trump, Muhammad Ali, Muslim, Remembering The Champ -

In fall 1987, Muhammad Ali made a goodwill visit to Pakistan, where he visited mosques, shrines, schools, hospitals, orphanages, and government offices. Ali believed that such visits were an important part of his Muslim faith, that acts of charity were a means of purifying one’s soul and drawing nearer to Allah. The former boxing champion […]

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Chuck D, Hip-Hop, Most Undefeated 2016, Muhammad Ali, Public Enemy, Remembering The Champ -

Hip-hop icon Chuck D and the supergroup Prophets of Rage (Public Enemy, Cypress Hill and Rage Against the Machine) are due back in Europe after a show in Brooklyn, New York, on June 5. I caught up with Chuck before the group headed to Rome — the site where the late legend Muhammad Ali won […]

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Boxing, Muhammad Ali, Remembering The Champ -

The day after shocking the world by defeating heavily favored Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship in 1964, Cassius Clay shook things up even more. He announced that he was joining the Nation of Islam and renouncing his “slave name.” Soon, he would be known as Muhammad Ali. That bold assertion of black identity was […]

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Commentary, Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Remembering The Champ -

Most black folk, on the one hand, honor our lost racial justice warriors by exchanging stories and memories of how they empowered us to cherish our black skin as a source of strength, not bemoan it as a mark of inferiority. Far too many white folk, on the other hand, replace the essential ingredients of […]

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Black History, Boxing, Grammy Awards, Most Undefeated 2016, Muhammad Ali, Music, Remembering The Champ -

August 1963: The Americana Hotel in Manhattan was abuzz. Now known as the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, the luxury establishment sits roughly a mile from Madison Square Garden and less than a half-mile from Radio City Music Hall. Its wildly popular jazz club, The Royal Box, was a regular hot spot for entertainment […]

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Boxing, Muhammad Ali, Remembering The Champ -

When someone of note passes away, the torrent of accolades from public figures reflects the same sweet amnesia that characterizes most people’s reminiscences of their own deceased loved ones. At most funerals, eulogizers focus far less on what they disliked in the decedent — her disturbing addiction to gossip; his frequent tipsiness or womanizing — […]

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Boxing, Muhammad Ali, Remembering The Champ -

His back ached, his hands hurt, the press hated him, and the feds wanted to throw him in jail. Tired of it all, Muhammad Ali announced that he would fight two more times and then retire. He was 24. The year was 1966, a time of crisis for America and for boxing’s heavyweight champion. That […]

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Boxing, Muhammad Ali, Remembering The Champ -

The best-kept secret in modern Olympic history slowly emerged from the darkness into a spellbound stadium. Someone in the upper deck suddenly yelled, “It’s Ali!” and a moment later one of the most recognizable faces on earth shuffled into the light and the throaty roar of 80,000 people. A black man, taking the torch 20 […]

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