25 Things You Might Not Know About Muhammad Ali

In what might be one of the worst years in terms of the passing of major entertainment and celebrity figures, 2016 continues to take from us one icon after another. After David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Prince most recently, we’re in the sad position today to say good-bye to another great personality who made our world a better and brighter place: humanitarian, activist, and boxing legend Muhammad Ali. The boy who was born Cassius Clay and ended up Muhammad Ali left us late Friday after suffering for years from Parkinson’s disease.

In the eyes of pretty much everybody, Ali was the greatest boxer of all time. Unfortunately, the man who showed the world how to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” endured a number of health problems over the last few decades and had become a shadow of his former glorious self. Suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by his Parkinson’s, Ali entered a hospital in Phoenix last week. In his passing, Muhammad Ali shook the world one last time and has left the world to mourn his loss and honor his humanity. We celebrate The Greatest by bringing you captivating Facts about the sportsman who touched our hearts and souls, probably more than any other athlete in history. These are 25 things you might not know about Muhammad Ali.

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Muhammad Ali was originally named Cassius Clay in honor of a nineteenth-century white farmer and abolitionist who emancipated the forty slaves he inherited from his father.

Source: The Greatest: My Own Story, Image: Wikipedia Source: The Greatest: My Own Story, Image: Wikipedia

Muhammad Ali might be one of the most famous African Americans in history, but he also had Irish roots. His great-grandfather was an Irishman named Abe Grady who immigrated to the United States and settled in Kentucky in the 1860s, where he married a freed slave. The rest is history.

Ali and George Bush Jr.Source: The Greatest: My Own Story, Image: Wikipedia

The thing that motivated him to become a boxer was his beloved red-and-white Schwinn bicycle. When it got stolen in 1954, a twelve-year-old Ali reported the theft to a policeman who gave boxing lessons at a local community center. The officer, who was also a boxing trainer, suggested that Ali learn how to fight, and six weeks later Ali won his first amateur boxing match by a split decision.

bicycleSource: The Greatest: My Own Story, Image: Wikipedia

As an amateur boxer Ali won 100 of 108 fights, including six Kentucky Golden Gloves championships and an Olympic gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

ali_1438615aSource: The Greatest: My Own Story, Image: Wikipedia

Many stories have been told about his Olympic medal. Ali himself wrote in his 1975 autobiography that after returning to Louisville, he threw his gold medal off a bridge into the Ohio River to protest the racism he still encountered in his hometown. However, his story has been disputed by some of those closest to him who claim he made up the story after he accidentally lost the medal. One way or another, during the 1996 Summer Olympics, Ali received a replacement gold medal.

Muhammad Ali OlympicsSource: The Greatest: My Own Story, Image: Wikipedia

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