Black History: Special Delivery!!
Today we are sharing 7 little known facts about the life of the incomparable Muhammad Ali who died on June 3, 2016 at the age of 74.
- Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Clay. He was named at birth after an abolitionist. When he converted to the Muslim faith, he changed his name initially to Cassius X. At the time, Ali, was also good friends with Malcolm X. When Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam, Cassius X decided to change his name to show that chose to remain loyal to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad rather than following Malcolm X. In 1964, he changed to Muhammad Ali
- Ali inspired Sylvester Stallone to make “Rocky”. Ali fought a little known boxer, Chuck Wepner. Ali did beat Wepner, but it took him the full 15 rounds. Wepner was recognized for his grit in going the distance with the champ. Rocky’s opponent, “Apollo Creed” was inspired by Ali.
- He never turned down an autograph request. As a young boy he was denied an autograph by Sugar Ray Robinson. He vowed that should he become famous he would never deny his fans. He even had a special P.O. Box for anyone wanting an autograph.
- He used to race the school bus. Instead of “riding” the bus, he “raced” the bus to school as a child in Louisville, KY.
- He threw away his gold medal. Ali won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics. He wore the medal frequently. When he was refused service at a restaurant because of his race, he then threw his Gold medal into the Ohio River stating that he would not wear in a country where he would be denied service.
- A stolen bicycle launched is boxing career. When he was 12, his new bike was stolen. When he went to the police station to report the bike stolen, he met an officer there who introduced him to boxing. He also vowed that he was going “whip” whoever stole his bike. However the bike was never found.
- He recorded an album. In 1963, he made of recording of Ben E. King’s, “Stand By Me”. It was released in 1964 by Columbia Records. The recording was part of Ali’s, “I Am The Greatest” spoken-word album.