By Scott Cavanagh
Muhammad Ali turned 70 today. In an era where an athlete is considered controversial because he says a prayer after a touchdown, or interesting because he changes his name to Ocho Cinco to match his jersey number, or principled because he only tweets about his contract disputes at halftime, “The Greatest” just seems all that much greater.
Controversial is telling the press that fighting in Vietnam would make no sense because “No Viet Cong ever called me nigger.”
Interesting is calling out opponents who continued to call him Cassius Clay--long after his name change--by screaming “What’s my name?” as he beat them into submission.
Principled is giving up the greatest title in all of sports, one that he had worked his entire life to acquire, in order to follow the tenants of what he believed. And he did all of this in the politically charged, assassination-filled climate of 1960’s America. Oh, and by the way, he was a pretty good boxer too.
Happy birthday champ. Assalam-alaikum.