and social activist. Considered a cultural icon
, Ali was both idolized and vilified.
Originally known as Cassius Clay, Ali changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam
in 1964, subsequently converting to Sunni Islam
in 1975, and more recently practicing Sufism
. In 1967, three years after Ali had won the World Heavyweight Championship, he was publicly vilified for his refusal to be conscripted into the U.S.
While I'm talking to you I'm thinking up the greatest short poem of all time. This poem tells how it feels to be great as I am: Me — wheee!
Ain't no reason for me to kill nobody in the ring, unless they deserve it.
I never thought of losing, but now that it's happened, the only thing is to do it right. That's my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.
If you were surprised when Nixon resigned, just watch what happens when I whup Foreman's behind!
You been hearing about how bad I am since you were a little kid with mess in your pants! Tonight, I'm gonna whip you till you cry like a baby.