Tribute To A Heavyweight: Muhammad Ali, Thank You For Being A Champion

Muhammad Ali


“Who’s that on your shirt?”

“What, you don’t know him? Come on! How old are you?”

“Like you don’t know, eight, sir.”

“You should know him by now, this is Muhammad Ali, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., The Greatest  boxer of all time.

“He kinda looks like dad.”

“Haha, yeah but you should look him up”. And he goes around humming “A great man…”.

This was the first time I got to hear about this man, the day my brother bought a shirt with his photo on and the day i got introduced to a whole new kind of legends.

Painting of Muhammad Ali by Andy Warhol

Painting of Muhammad Ali by Andy Warhol

I had always been fascinated with the idea that with simple acts of nobility and heroism someone could do great things, he could get recognized by the whole world for it. That was Muhammad Ali. A man who stood by morals until his morals immortalized him.

Today you can say the world has lost a great man, but believe me this loss wouldn’t affect the fact that he’ll always be alive in our minds. I can’t in one article sum up this man’s achievements, neither the ones related to sports nor the ones outside that career for he was in both outstanding. For in sports he is a symbol of heroism and an icon of hope with 56 wins out of 61 fights.

His political views concerning the Vietnam War, how he refused to participate in the war using his words:

“War is against the teachings of the Holy Qura’n. I’m not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don’t take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers.”

More succinctly and famously he said:

“I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet cong-no Viet Cong ever called me Nigger.”

The statement articulated, for many people, a reason to oppose the war. And despite the fact that he got later arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges and stripped from his boxing title, he remained an icon for conscientious objectors to war.

Today, at the age of 74, we lost a man and bequeathed a legacy. The everlasting reputation of kindness he leaves behind we will tend to kindly. We have collected a few good Ali quotes that deliver the greatest lessons and a few punchlines to mind about.

“I don’t smoke but I keep a match box in my pocket, when my heart slips towards SIN, I burn the matchstick & heat my palm with it, then say to myself, “Ali you can’t even bear this heat, how would you bear the unbearable heat of Hellfire?”

I ask God that he may rest in peace for he left on earth so many good deeds and welcome him to heaven.

Photography by Gordon Parks

Photography by Gordon Parks

Said by Cassius Muhammad Ali Clay:

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

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

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe”. 
“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”
Photography by Gordon Parks

Photography by Gordon Parks

Muhammad Ali,
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.,
January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016

Thank you for being a champion.

Written by Mariem Sherif

Mariem Sherif is an Egyptian medical student who believes that words can heal a wound, that in each and every one of us there is something special and that in details lies another great different life for those who notice.