One thing that I respect about Muhammad Ali is that no one pushed him around for the most part. Except for Don King perhaps with all the money he screwed Muhammad out of as his promoter in the 1970s. And Muhammad perhaps the most famous athlete in the world not just in the United States in the 1960s. Who was at the heart of the American civil rights movement because of his race.
But also because of Muhammad’s intelligence and the attention that he could bring to himself and because of how honest he was and wasn’t nice to the American establishment no matter the race. And always said exactly what was on his mind so when he said he was against the Vietnam War in the mid 1960s. Like most people in his generation and was not going to fight against a country that never harmed him. Or denied him his freedom and constitutional rights because of his race and his complexion to fight against a country that never hurt him.
Muhammad wasn’t going to fight for a country that was trying to hold him down and when he said “I’m not going to fight for a country that’s been trying to hold me down, because of my race to fight against a country that never called me Nigger”. And so-forth and he was being honest and serious. Muhammad was the Malcolm X of professional sports as far as someone who knew American history and the state of the African-American community.
And what African-Americans were going through and wasn’t going to take trash from anyone and be pushed around. Just like Malcolm X even if it meant his life. Malcolm was assassinated something that Muhammad has avoided. Muhammad was going to live his own life and try to help people that he felt he could and make a positive difference where he could and because of his intelligence. And his personality that he wasn’t going to sacrifice his own freedom. And his own constitutional right to stand up for what he believed even if it meant getting his boxing career back. To fight for a cause that he believed was unjust.
What you see in this interview is Muhammad Ali being himself. And the interviewer bringing up for example all the money that not taking part in being drafted into the U.S. Army to fight in the Vietnam War and so-forth and losing his World Heavyweight Boxing Championship. And his boxing license and the millions of dollars that came with that and Muhammad saying that “yeah I could have that”. But I’m not going to take it at the cost of my freedom. Muhammad Ali wasn’t going to be bought.