He changed his name more than once
Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., which was changed to Cassius X, and later on to Muhammad Ali in the 1960s, following his conversion to Islam
He fought despite nursing injury during his big comeback
As a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title and banned from boxing for almost four years. Ali’s first comeback fight followed his enforced exile of three years and seven months against No. 1 heavyweight contender Jerry Quarry.
Then 28, he would go on to make a successful return to the ring, winning by TKO in the third round — but the fight nearly didn’t happen. “Ali had only six weeks to prepare for this contest, “In training, his boyhood friend and former heavyweight champion Jimmy Ellis badly fractured one of Ali’s ribs. “Even with this injury, Ali did not reschedule the fight, being entirely uncertain that if he did, he would ever get the chance to fight again.”
He’s an entertainer
Muhammad Ali was a SHIT TALKER. But he’s an entertaining one. He would say rhymes about his opponents and he just came off as a really cocky guy. But at the end of the day, at least for most of his opponents, it was all in good fun and was not personal. And most of the time, you could tell Ali was just being a goofball. Muhammad Ali was fun to watch. He’d dance around his opponents, he’d do his Ali Shuffle, and he’d out box them.
Protesting an on-going war was tantamount to treason, but protest he did
“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end,” Ali said against the war in Vietnam.
After deliberating for just twenty-one minutes, a jury found him guilty of draft evasion. He was stripped of his boxing license and belts. Four long years he wandered the wilderness without a fight, or reliable means of feeding his family. Finally, in 1970 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction. Vindicated, Muhammad returned to the ring. Older, slower, he recaptured his belts.
It’s hard not to wonder how much greater his career would’ve been. But this sacrifice is now his eternal crown.
He never turns down an autograph request
As a young boy, Cassius Clay asked his idol, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson for an autograph. Robinson rudely told the boy “I don’t got time.” Young Cassius never forgot how hurt he was by Robinson’s rejection. To this day, he has never once turned down a request for an autograph. He even has a special P.O. box for anyone who wants his autograph.