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 10 things you might not know about Muhammad Ali.
10. 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.



9. 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.
8. As a result of his refusal, he was sentenced to five years in prison but was able to stay out on appeal. He was also stripped of his world title and banned from the ring for three years during his prime.
7. During his forty-three-month forced exile from the ring Ali starred in a Broadway musical. He took to the stage in Buck White, playing the title role. Unfortunately, the musical closed four nights later after just seven performances. In spite of the project’s failure, Ali, who played a militant black lecturer, received decent reviews.
6. In 1978 Muhammad Ali regained his title from Leon Spinks with a unanimous decision after fifteen rounds, becoming the first World Heavyweight boxing champion to win the title for the third time.



5. On July 19, 1996, a shaking (from the Parkinson’s) Ali lit the torch at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, in what was noted by Sports Illustrated as one of the most emotional moments in sports history.
4. It might sound hard to believe but Ali practiced his speed by dodging rocks. He asked his best friend to throw rocks at him and according to his younger brother Rudy, Ali dodged every rock thrown at him.
3. In 1999 Ali was named the top North American sportsman of the twentieth century by Sports Illustrated.



2. Almost fifty years after the bout, the gloves Ali wore to defeat Liston and win the world title earned him more money than the victory itself. In 2013 an anonymous buyer purchased the gloves Ali wore to win his first world title for $836,000. For the record, Ali had earned only $630,000 for the victory.
1. On November 27, 1990, Muhammad Ali met with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad to negotiate for the release of Americans held hostage in Iraq and Kuwait. The next month Ali would accompany fifteen freed U.S. hostages out of Iraq, a sign of the global respect and admiration Ali enjoyed worldwide.

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