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Storytelling is in us as humans; we live by stories. Some stories are fiction and some are real. Stories are everywhere, whether it is in book, movie, videogame, or even music. Story revolves around us. It gives reason for interest, and creates answers to the unknown. As human we crave answers to the unknown and create stories, specially that for social activities. In the novel The Storytelling Animal, by Jonathan Gottschall it states, “Maybe Story is a form of social glue that brings people together around common values”(28). This brings around to tell our next generations. Many of them have an impact on today’s society and how we live each day. Everybody in life has an individual story to tell. Some are very inspirational and show us how we are all humans. The Greatest boxer that ever lived has changed us as humans and the way we value society. His name is Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali, formerly Known as Cassius clay Jr, is well known around the globe. He is known for what he has accomplished in the boxing ring and for what he has done outside the ring, in society. Muhammad Ali was one of the first athletes to introduce black power to “White America” being the prime example for Black pride showing resistance to “White America”. He started the antiwar movement in the 1960’s. He also made music and humor for his pre-fights. The “I am the Greatest” album that CBS Columbia released in. Cassius Clay Jr. has a very interesting story to tell from being the champion he was to his religious practices. Many people idolize Him because of his story he has left an inspiration on much of the world and and inspiration to what makes us human.
We may all ask, “what makes us human?” Well, there are many things that make us human other than our biological facts. humans live on stories and continue to grow with stories generation by generation. In the book, The storytelling animal: How Stories Make us Human, The author Jonathan Gottschall States, “Story-Whether delivered through films, books, or video games-teaches us facts about the world; influences our moral logic; and marks us with fears, hopes, and anxieties that alter our behavior, perhaps even our personalities. Research shows that story is constantly nibbling and kneading us, shaping our minds without our knowledge or consent”(148). And the story of Muhammad Ali and his fight through conflict, bouncing back from adversity shows many ways man has learned from story. Ali was one of many who has a story that affected society of what make us the humans we are today.
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born january 17, 1942. Born in louisville, kentucky. He stood at six foot three inches. According to a biography from the editors at thefamouspeople.com, it states, “It was a Louisville police officer who changed the fate of young Clay. The latter was enraged at a thief who robbed his bicycle and told police officer, Joe Martin that he wished to whip the robber. It was then that Martin suggested him to learn boxing first”. Martin was His early coach in his amature days. Muhammad Ali Grew to be the boxing champ with a record of 56 wins and five losses, 37 of which, were knockouts. 3 heavyweight championships belts, and a gold medal in the 1960 olympic games. Ali was the youngest athlete to take the belt from a reigning champion who was Sonny Liston at the time. According to the article, Muhammad Ali: 4 Ways He Changed America, written by Mike Ruben, an author on rollingstones.com. Ruben states, “youngest boxer to unseat an incumbent heavyweight champion — Ali is considered, alongside Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson, one of the best boxers ever to enter a ring.”
Not only was Muhammad Ali an idol to many. There is more to his story than being “the Greatest” boxer that lived. Cassius Clay jr was a believer in religious freedom and racial justice, practicing islam at the age of 22, he then Changed his name to Muhammad Ali from Cassius Clay Jr. The name he despised because it was his “slave name”. Ali was a civil rights activist and Didn’t stand for racial inequality. Ali once said, “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”. Ali has inspired millions. What Ali had to say, america was not ready to hear especially in the 1960’s from a young black man. Ali spoke about the equality of man regardless the color of skin and/ or religion. Ali believed in being free. He says, “I’m free to be what I want.” Many of his Fans were inspired by the way their favorite athlete stood up to society in ways of selfless acts. According to the rolling stones, “Ali became a magnetic symbol of dignity and self-determination to several generations of African-Americans”.
In 1967, Ali refused to join the military draft to the Vietnam war. This ultimately cost him his heavyweight title and a suspension from boxing. Ali refused to join regarding reasons of his muslim practice. He said, “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.” This labeled Ali as a “draft dodger”, and earned him a five year sentence to prison and a no-boxing penalty for 3 years. However, Ali stayed out of prison as his case was appealed. The supreme court dropped charges in 1971 and by that time it was already almost been four years since the young champion has been in the ring. In 1971, Ali Fought Joe frazier. This fight was what people labeled as “The Fight of The Century”. A few years later in 1974, Ali was victorious in a rematch with Frazier after a 12 round brawl. Later that year Ali reclaimed his heavyweight title in “The Rumble In The Jungle”. Ali then lost it to Leon Spinks and won it back quickly. Shortly after Ali was open to the public about the fact that he was retiring from the sport. Muhammad Ali was the only fighter to have earned the championship title three different times. Around the same time Ali gave notice of his diagnosis of parkinson’s disease and was given a max of ten years to live, however he managed to live an extra 32 years.
Ali was a man of interest and a sense of humor. He made humor of “trash-talking” with rhymes outside the ring, poems and more. Some know his famous lines “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. In the article, MUHAMMAD ALI: THE GREATEST IN COURT, by attorney at law, Andres F. Quintana, it states, “Ali escalated taunting and smack-talking to unprecedented heights to strategically keep his opponents psychologically off balance. His aphorisms, rhymes, and pre-fight jeers at some of the sport’s best known boxers-Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Charles “Sonny” Liston, Floyd Patterson-are considered classics”(173-74). The media was not a fan of Ali’s taunts or rhymes. They called him “arrogant, unapologetic braggart who irritated many with his orotund talk”(Quintana 174). But, it was the general public that was screamed for Ali and his acts. Ali said, “Every time I stepped into the ring, at least half the audience was so anxious to see me slaughtered, they would cheer and scream and stomp for every punch an opponent hit me with. So much so that they became hysterical when I frustrated those dreams and hopes.”
The African American boxer Muhammad Ali has created an aura of inspiration to many people, especially those that box or fight and feel like the underdog sometimes. Ali has earned the titles he has claimed. Some say he is the best.According to the article, Muhammad Ali Voted Greatest Boxer Of All Time, by Josh teal, one fan says “I’ve never ever seen the likes of an athlete such as Ali. He not only was great, he had style and grace. He was Michael Jackson before Michael Jackson. You could watch hours of just him.” another says “The Ali shuffle was breathtaking. I’ve seen movies; I’ve watched Sugar Ray Leonard, but no-one to date could emulate that move …” Many children today that practice boxing or playfight pretend they are Muhammad Ali, he has brought that impact on us that many of us idolize, from being “the draft dodger” to being the inspiration civil rights activist. The young champion has earned that recognition in ways he has helped society acknowledge that value that make us people.
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