Saturday, June 04, 2016

President Obama on the passing of Muhammad Ali.

Courtesy of Politicususa:  

Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d “handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.” 

But what made The Champ the greatest – what truly separated him from everyone else – is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing. 

Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing. But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time. 

In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him – the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston. I was too young when it was taken to understand who he was – still Cassius Clay, already an Olympic Gold Medal winner, yet to set out on a spiritual journey that would lead him to his Muslim faith, exile him at the peak of his power, and set the stage for his return to greatness with a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of Southeast Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden. 

That’s the Ali I came to know as I came of age – not just as skilled a poet on the mic as he was a fighter in the ring, but a man who fought for what was right. A man who fought for us. He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today. 

He wasn’t perfect, of course. For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved. But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes – maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves. Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world. We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest. We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes. 

Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace.

I don't think you can be on this planet without knowing who Muhammad Ali was. At least not anyplace civilized.

And if you knew who he was you were inevitably impressed with him as well. I know I certainly was.

Growing up in the 60's and 70's Muhammad Ali was everywhere in my young life. And as a fighter in my own right, I studied his movements and attempted to dissect whatever it was that made him so amazing.

Only to realize that no matter how many hours of footage I watched I was never going to be able to mimic what he had. (Don't believe me? Here is Ali dodging 21 punches in 10 seconds.)

He was bigger than life.

And he remained that way even as the Parkinson's disease ravaged his body, and stole his vaunted athleticism away from him.

And in my opinion even death cannot really defeat this champion, because who he was and what he did is going to live on for centuries to come.

As well he should, because like he always told everyone, he was the greatest.


  1. Duh Meyer posted a tribute to Alicia on his Fecebook and his fans are calling him out on it.

    1. Anonymous9:30 AM

      Link please.

    2. Anonymous9:55 AM


      Or Ali?

    3. Anonymous10:07 AM

      Speechless. Kentucky's greatest disgrace.

      "Convicted draft doger!"

    4. Anonymous10:29 AM

      Surprise! Surprise! A few of Kentucky's MOH's like minds on his Facebook.

      Kimber Lee Churchill Harper took his Draft Dodging case all the way to the Supreme Court and didnt do any time when convicted of Draft Evading. Now the Gov. of KY orders flags lowered for him. He is worse than Jane Fonda.

      Louieda Ganapin Jose Rest in peace #Ali
      His time is End and his contribution to boxing world has never forgotten
      A Boxing Legend..
      And you haters time will come you will die too,and if what you sow is what you reap "The Hatred"!!

      Al Whitney Sorry Marine.......he was a draft dodger. I don't care that he passed. I care about the soldiers who drowned.

      Roger Cavendish He was NOT a hero, he WAS a draft dodging boxer, noting more, nothing less, so suck it up buttercup and deal with it.

      Sean Dawson Dakota, you realize 9 men lost their lives on Ft. Hood right? Why pay homage to Ali, but no mention of them?

      Michael Moore He should have added,except when it comes to serving his country,Greatest my Ass!!!

      Kevin Glenn Male version of Jane Fonda. Burn in hell, Ali.

      Matt MacFarland Repeat from Instagram, but Dakota Meyer, how do you reconcile your patriotism with his lack of patriotism?
      (Dakota didn't have the balls to utter a word, what can you say about THE GREATEST when you are THE WORSTEST Kentucky spew?)

    5. Anonymous11:25 AM

      Isn't it insane how they cling to their past? The Greatest, to clingers can only be as they rememeber another bad war. Even college preppy rowdy gentleman Bush could deal with 'The Greatest of All Time'.

    6. Ali not Alicia. Sorry damn autocorrect

    7. Anonymous7:49 PM

      Funny how they don't mention Poopy pants nugent? There is a congress ashole bleating about it. POTUS is being trolled, it is disgusting. Conservatives have destoryed social media.

  2. He was a hero at a time when I needed a hero--when it seemed as if war, violence, racism and "selling out" were all insurmountable and unavoidable. He taught me about passion, integrity and courage. And yes, about beauty and grace.

  3. Anonymous8:50 AM

    Did you know this, Gryphen?

    Muhammad Ali visited the White House on January 24, 1983, presenting President Reagan with an autographed Muslim Prayer Book, of which President Reagan mentions in his handwritten diaries.

    Omigod! Maybe Ronald Reagan was a secret Muslim! (Wingers, that's what you'd say if Ali had given a Muslim prayer book to President Obama, right?)

    The President later noted in his diaries that Muhammad Ali endorsed him for President during his 1984 re-election campaign.

    That's true -- Ali endorsed Reagan in October 1984:

    1. Anonymous9:39 AM

      Was he a Republican?

  4. Anonymous8:54 AM

    It is impossible for anyone under 50 years old to understand just how completely Muhammad Ali commanded the attention of the world like he did in the 1960s and 1970s. What he was doing and saying was front page news and on the network news any time he spoke or appeared in public.

    I recently read the book "Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X".

    It is highly recommended for anyone wanting to know more about the life of Cassius Clay, and how he became the man we knew as Muhammad Ali.

    Muhammad Ali's religious conversion to Nation of Islam was a much more controversial thing at the time than was his opposition to the War in Vietnam.

    The friendship and bond between Malcom X and Muhammad Ali lead to the political awakening of Cassius Clay and almost directly to the murder of Malcom X as a result of a power struggle within the Nation of Islam.

  5. Anonymous8:56 AM

    Jake Tapper asked Donald Trump if his judge attack was racist — then followed up 23 times

    ...Tapper's relentlessness ultimately paid off. He finally got a straight answer out of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

    TAPPER: If you are saying he cannot do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?

    TRUMP: No, I don't think so at all.

    Tapper presumably had other subjects he would have liked to get to. Trump likely figured as much and assumed he could stall long enough for his interviewer to move on. That's usually how it goes.

    But Tapper refused to drop the subject until Trump offered a yes-or-no answer. It was clearly an exhausting effort. But it showed that even Donald J. Trump can be worn down by a journalist who never gives up.

    1. Anonymous10:08 AM

      More and more TV interviewers need to nail Trump's ass and be relentless with their questioning. Good for Tapper!!!

      How about Morning Joe and that idiot blond putting questions of substance to Trump and really go after him?

      It's no wonder MSNBC has dropped so horribly in their ratings. CNN isn't doing well either!

      Trump needs to be brought down and his ego demolished to where we never hear from the jerk again. He'll never be elected POTUS.

      As Hillary Clinton said - "Trump is NOT fit to be POTUS!"

      Hillary will have my vote. She's the only one that has successfully stood up to Trump - she sliced and diced him in that speech!

    2. Anonymous10:42 AM

      Great post, 10:08

    3. Anonymous10:44 AM

      POS the Donald.

      Donald Trump couldn’t name any Muslim athletes. Here are 38.

    4. Anonymous11:10 AM

      Trump has business with the sports world, he has to say something. He also believes with the Obama secret Muslim, born in Kenya idiots of the world.

      How much can Trump say? He is like Dakota Meyer, he said nothing when he posted a meme.

      Silence speaks louder than words.

      Now take Todd Palin. He will be unstuffing his mouth from all those used condoms to make a statement. Remember he is the TV star that starred with Chris Kyle (remember all said about the lose of Kyle, Track's hero) and Laila Ali. No doubt Todd will be at Ali memorial with his co-star.

      Stars Earn Stripes

    5. Anonymous1:49 PM

      Sarah Palin loves sports, she is not going to be quiet when a famous sports figure passes. As she was influenced by her father an avid boxing fan. I think her grandfather or someone was a photographer and boxing was his specialty.

      Sarah will be boasting about Muhammad Ali and how much he meant to her family. She also admired his gift with words and all he did for those with impairments. A lot like the Palins with Trig's problems. All that was a great inspiration for Bristol. She is no doubt writing on her blog where she blesses The Greatest.

  6. Anonymous9:07 AM

    “My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father… Shoot them for what? …How can I shoot them poor people, Just take me to jail,”

    1. Crystal Sage11:20 AM

      I was never a boxing fan, so my admiration of Ali stemmed from quotes like those posted by Anonymous 9:07 AM. I remember all the sports pundits calling him a draft dodger and the hatred for him because he was 1.) Black and proud; 2.) a gifted athlete; 3.) Muslim; and 4.) courageous enough to risk his title and reputation for his beliefs. As to Number 4, many were simply jealous of his courage, therefore they hated him. I became a huge fan after he made his stand against the war. May he rest in peace.

      BTW, for those TV watchers, his daughter Mayum recently appeared in the A&E show "60 Days In" and I grew to respect her as well. She is also Muslim and looks like her father. Her name was changed in case she was recognized as she participated in a reality program where citizens are incarcerated in order to help point out problems in the prison system. She took her task very seriously.

  7. SallyinMI9:08 AM

    I do hope that people realize his Parkinson's was probably brought on by the multiple blows to the head he endured. I hate boxing, but I did respect Ali for his honesty and truth telling when no one wanted to hear it.
    As a nation, we m,just stop glorifying these violent, vicious 'games' that men think they have to, boxing, even soccer cause brain trauma. There has to be a better use of our resources than billion dollar taxpayer-funded stadiums, and $100 tickets above that. Tis country is hurting, and we need an infrastructure bill, a big one, and soon. The poisoning of Flint will soon hit home to lots of towns and cities; do you want to use bottled water for the two years it will take your state to react?

    1. Anonymous11:30 AM

      No one knows as yet what brings on Parkinson or Multiple Sclerosis diseases.

      I know folks w/Parkinson disease who have never been in a boxing ring or played in games where there was blunt force hits to their heads.

      A few I know, with both diseases, served in Viet Nam.

      I hope they learn the causes and eventually have cures for all currently suffering w/both diseases! Both can be very debilitating.

    2. Anonymous1:35 PM

      My Aunt had Parkinson. Ali was THE GREATEST!

    3. Sally your comment on this subject started with bullshit.
      Which sucks because I like your comments most times.

  8. Anonymous9:28 AM

    "Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period." Muhammad Ali: 'He Represents That Greatness Came From Louisville'

    Kentucy's greatest son.

    1. abbafan5:24 PM

      Muhammad Ali, Kentucky's Greatest Son. Very fitting. OTOH, Dumbkota Meyer (shacking up again with a brain-dead idiot), Kentucky's Greatest Fucked-Up Asshole. He deserves all the shit heading his way!!

  9. Anonymous9:35 AM

    Just waiting to see how Hair Drumpf (who merely thinks he's the greatest) reacts to being bumped off the news cycle for a day, maybe even the whole weekend.

    I still remember being curled up on the couch, watching boxing with my Daddy. Will never forget Ali's amazing reach. I would have loved to box, but I was a girl, and as such, society wouldn't allow such adventures for the likes of me. Was very, very glad when Laila decided to follow in her daddy's footsteps.

    1. Anonymous10:00 AM

      There is no way the life of Trump measures up to that of Mohammed Ali!

      For one, Mohammed Ali was loved and respected around the world where Trump is hated and despised!

      Trump had better not try to compare himself to him either as he'd get a backlash he's not experienced before! It would be deadly!

    2. Anonymous10:43 AM

      I knew Trump would feel the need to be the first candidate to say something (and beat the pres to it) and so I went to check out his Twitter last night after news of Ali's death broke, but that little-boy-brain rapid response was not the reason for his lameass tweet. He simply has no ability to use language in a way that is eloquent and moving. All he managed to say about Ali as a person was that he was "a wonderful guy." Groan.

    3. Anonymous10:57 AM

      The loser stole 'greatest' 9:35 AM. Not the real deal at all. Trump can never win. He is a fraud.

  10. Anonymous9:38 AM

    Did you catch this article, Jesse?

    Alaska’s huge climate mystery — and its global consequences

  11. Anonymous9:44 AM

    My president has such a way with words.

  12. Anonymous9:56 AM

    President Obama never ceases to amaze me when he speaks! Love his tribute to Mohammed Ali!!

  13. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Behind the Greatest Photo of Muhammad Ali Ever

    A hush fell over the audience

    Paul Simon gave a fitting tribute to Muhammad Ali Friday night – pausing in the final verse of singing the 1969 hit “The Boxer” to tell the crowd that “the Greatest” had died.

    Less than three month’s before Muhammad Ali‘s death, his daughter Laila opened up about his strength despite his dwindling health.

    In an interview with PEOPLE in early March, Laila said that her father was in good spirits and “knows what’s going on around him,” despite the Parkinson’s disease he had been fighting for more than 30 years.

    “That man continues to put me in awe. He’s such a fighter, still, when at times he seems weak and not able to handle it,” she said. “He comes through stronger than ever. He’s still fighting regardless and I love my dad for that.”

  14. Anonymous10:09 AM

    Muhammad Ali's Children Share Grief and Love on Social Media Following His Death: 'You Can Go Now. We Will Be Okay'

  15. I was up last night when the news came over MSNBC about quarter past midnight.

    I then Googled around and found photos of Ali with Richard Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Obama, Jackie Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and James Brown, among others.

    You didn't have to have any interest or understanding of boxing to know who Ali was. He was one individuals whose fame and influence springboarded him far beyond the profession that introduced him. We baby boomers have surrendered another touchstone, generational icon to the great beyond.

  16. Anonymous10:40 AM

    Another good tribute by a former sports writer -

  17. Anonymous10:45 AM

    I loved how Ali let everyone see him as he was after being diagnosed and he started struggling and the struggling increased. His allowing of us to see his daily reality over all these years did so much good.

  18. Anonymous11:00 AM

    That picture of Ali standing over Sonny Liston with that scowl on is face, is my FAVORITE of Ali's professional photos I have seen.

  19. Anonymous11:21 AM

    I copied his his style as well, Gryph. I'm still a bit crushed.

  20. Anonymous1:07 PM

    until we meet again in Valhalla!

  21. Anonymous1:28 PM

    William Dunne All keyboard commandos calling Ali a draft dodger but never say a word about Ted Nugent

  22. Anonymous3:18 PM

    The Greatest at 70: the life and times of Muhammad Ali in pictures. Laila Ali.

  23. Anita Winecooler5:09 PM

    I remember my father with my brothers going to see his fights. There's so much more to this man than his fighting prowess. My heart broke watching him struggle to light the Olympic Torch, he was a fighter to the end and a man of his convictions. He did "shake the world", what a way with words President Obama has. The world lost a hero.

  24. Anonymous5:14 PM

    To me, Ali's courage in resisting the draft and going to prison for five years at the peak of his powers was his greatest accomplishment. It meant so much to those of us who despised and protested that horrible and misbegotten war to have someone of his stature essentially suicide his career because of principle.

    I was privileged to suddenly encounter Ali on a street corner in Washington, D. C. in the early '70s--Lordy, what a beautiful man he was!--and to be among those in the rapidly-growing crowd around him to receive a generous handshake.

    May Allah have mercy on him and make him enter His highest paradise.

  25. Susan Richards6:00 PM

    I appreciated his stance on the Vietnam War but I've always thought boxing to be very barberic.

  26. Anonymous6:02 PM

    Correction: He was sentenced to five years in prison. While his lawyers appealed his conviction (which was later overturned by SCOTUS), he remained free. However, he lost his title, was banned from boxing for three years, and was widely excoriated for being a "cowardly draft dodger."

  27. Anonymous9:17 AM

    So it seems you love egotistical braggadocio just like you love Trump.


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