Muhammad Ali celebrates his 70th birthday today. Arguably the greatest athlete to ever live, he’s responsible for changing the face of American sports. During a time when blacks were treated as second-class citizens, Ali claimed that black was beautiful and stood as a symbol for black self-love.
His choice to convert to Islam and stand against the pointless Vietnam War made him a revolutionary who just happened to be the best athlete on the earth. Ali was unafraid to stand up for what he believed in when it came to society’s ills. Unfortunately, most of today’s athletes are not concerned with what happens outside of basketball. It’s hard to imagine Kobe Bryant or LeBron James speaking out against the high incarceration rates of black males, or the war in Iraq.
Ali’s greatness extended beyond the boxing ring. And that’s why we celebrate the day of his birth.
Here are 10 iconic images and quotes from Muhammad Ali. –amir shaw