Racist? You kidding I’m the Greatest
A recent clip of Mohamad Ali shown during the boxing at the Olympics reminded me of an interview Michael Parkinson did live on tv with the Greatest of them all. In 1960 with his recently won gold medal Cassius Clay (as he was known back then) tried to get into a restaurant in his hometown of Louisville, only to be told by the Maitre d’ “I’m sorry, we don’t serve Negroes here.”
Quick as a flash the reply was given “That’s ok, I don’t eat Negroes, I want a steak.” Proving that he could rise above prevalent segregation without laying anyone out.
He may have been incredible to watch, quick as lightning with his quips and razor sharp with his put downs but in 1960’s America none of that mattered a damn unless you were white. He was the fighter I watched whenever I could. He was the fighter I adored, and he was the one who showed me that a riposte was always better than a punch every day.
Such a shame to think he’s finally gone to meet his God, but he’s suffering no more. His family love him still as do those of us who remember the Greatest and the Prettiest boxer who ever walked among us. I am not worthy of following in his footsteps unless it’s with humility and praise for my fellow man, regardless of colour of the skin wrapping his bones and muscles. For your humanity, wit and good nature Mohamad I thank you for brightening up my world.