4 June 2016
He always called himself the greatest. He made sure not to leave it at that, he went on to show it to the world. We can all learn the potency of believing in oneself from the icon, Muhammad Ali.
Since the announcement of his death late Friday night, Muhammad Ali has received honourable mentions.
Watching a back to back run of his legacy on CNN, one can only look on in awe of a man who led a life so great.
However sober we may be about his death, the world still prides in that his life was fully lived – a life richly spent.
Years after his prime achievements, the world is still in acknowledgment of him – this speaks alot about the kind of person he was; a fighter, not just inside the ring, but out of it.
Being the fighter that he was, he lived elegantly through 32 years of Parkinson’s disease. His legacy passed through several decades, with even a little kid – as seen in the Louisville Memorial broadcast – saluting him. It says much that someone that young lives in the knowledge of who he is.
Barack Obama wrote a worthy mention of his, echoing him to be an individual who loved the sound of his own voice: “His belief in himself is notable and glaring. He never resisted telling the world about himself, his belief, his reverence for love and kindness.
“In every interview or correspondence, he would make you see why he resisted the call for the Vietnam war, he would make statements of honour about his sportsmanship, he would make bold statements about his religion, Islam.
“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.”
Quoting Ali in his own voice, he said ,“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognise. But get used to me – black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.”
In 1967, he was an enemy of the state. Though an enemy of the state, he stood grounded in his beliefs, he believed in himself, never flailing, even when his hands trembled with a torch in his hands to light the Olympic torch in 1996.
This singular event and his life as a whole, represents an example of the world changing for who he was; a true acceptance of a hero who stood gallantly preaching the message of love and peace.
I am not much of a boxing fan, so I might have light knowledge of his outstanding run as an athlete. The reflection of respect came while digging through video archives of him – he was confident enough to say he was the greatest and he went ahead to show that to the world.
When asked by his personal trainer, where his confidence came from, he simply replied, “I believed in myself.”