The other night on ESPN Classic, there was a retrospective on Muhammad Ali's career. It's one of the best. It's not complete by a long shot, but it has a certain edge on his career vis a vis the Nation of Islam and his conscientious objection that rub me the right way.
I betrayed my father as a youth by writing to Muhammad Ali telling him that I wished he were my father. I should ask Pops if he remembers. I remember waiting for a reply, and somewhere dimly I think I got one. Ali had that kind of effect on me, he said what he meant and it flowed naturally. Ali's spirit was that of a candid and clear defiance. He defied all that expected him to be anything less than a free and full man, but even looking at that picture one cannot be fully apprised of his greatness. The dialog only goes as far as that narrative of the triumph of a black man over those whites who would deny him whatever.
This post is a reminder of what a champion he was outside of the ring, in profound ways that only a few people have come to understand. Perhaps one day we'll know the rest of the story.