Muhammad Ali stops a man from committing suicide. Police negotiators and psychiatrists had tried for over two hours but the young man wasn’t budging. Ali stepped in, went to the window near the troubled man, and told him they were “brothers.” He talked him off the ledge. 1981.

“Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d ‘handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.’

But what made The Champ the greatest—what truly separated him from everyone else—is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing.

Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing. But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time.

In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him—the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston. I was too young when it was taken to understand who he was—still Cassius Clay, already an Olympic Gold Medal winner, yet to set out on a spiritual journey that would lead him to his Muslim faith, exile him at the peak of his power, and set the stage for his return to greatness with a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of Southeast Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden.

'I am America,’ he once declared. 'I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me—black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.’

That’s the Ali I came to know as I came of age—not just as skilled a poet on the mic as he was a fighter in the ring, but a man who fought for what was right. A man who fought for us. He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.

He wasn’t perfect, of course. For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved. But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes—maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves. Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world. We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest. We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.

Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace.” —President Obama


Bernie Sanders: “You can’t praise Ali and disparage Muslims.”

Saturday, June 4, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said that we, people mourning Muhammad Ali, must remember the legendary boxer’s faith.
During a press conference in Los Angeles said: “The reason that Ali struck a chord in the heart of so many Americans was not just his great boxing skill, it was his incredible courage. At a time when it was not popular to do so, Ali stood up and said, “I am opposed to the war in Vietnam and I’m not going to fight in that war.” And that incredibly courageous decision cost him three and a half years of his prime fighting life. But he chose to stand by his ideals, his views. What a hero. What a great man.”

#MuhammadAli    #BernieSanders


“My friend called me a couple of days ago and asked me. He said, Muhammad wants you to —  and I said “Yes.” I didn’t even let him finish. He could have said “mow the lawn,” and I would have been down with it. 

Muhammad’s my hero. He has been since I was a child. As you can see, he’s such an inspiration to many people.” - Prince

It’s high time for Black athletes to stand up for black lives like Kaepernick and Muhammad Ali.

In one of the most iconic and controversial moments of his career, Muhammad Ali stands over Sonny Liston and yells at him after knocking the former champ down in the first round of their 1965 rematch. Skeptics dubbed it “the Phantom Punch,” but films show Ali’s flashing right caught Liston flush, knocking him to the canvas. Refusing to go to a neutral corner, Ali stood over Liston and told him to “get up and fight, sucker." Ali, the heavyweight boxing legend who fought opponents in the ring and on behalf of social justice outside of it, has died at 74 years old. (Neil Leifer)

GALLERY: SI’s 100 Greatest Photos of Muhammad Ali


Muhammad Ali, ‘The Greatest of All Time’, Dead at 74

“Muhammad Ali, the silver-tongued boxer and civil rights champion who famously proclaimed himself “The Greatest” and then spent a lifetime living up to the billing, is dead. 

“After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening,” …

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”- Muhammad Ali

Read more at nbcnews

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