Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. (January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer and activist. He was widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century. From early in his career, Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial, and polarizing figure both inside and outside the ring.
Cassius Clay was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and began training as an amateur boxer when he was 12 years old. At age 18, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, after which he turned professional later that year. At age 22 in 1964, he won the WBA and WBC heavyweight titles from Sonny Liston in an upset. Clay then converted to Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay, which he called his "slave name", to Muhammad Ali. He set an example of racial pride for African Americans and resistance to white domination during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
Most of you probably know this story: but when the great man was a young kid on the streets of New York, a bully took his bike away from him. When he reported this to a cop he was told: first learn to box, then you can get you bike back. The rest, as they say, is history.
It goes to show that those who hurt and abuse can never stop us from being the amazing individuals we’re meant to be.
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