Boxer and Olympic Gold medalist Muhammad Ali is easily one of the greatest sports icons to have ever lived, not just because of his expertise inside the ring, but also because of his compassion and courage outside of it.
As a Black Muslim icon, revered by the public at large, Ali was in a unique position where his stardom allowed him to enjoy the benefit of fame, without the repercussions.
But Ali, instead, chose to walk the path less taken and took it upon himself to highlight the racism that Black people encountered in the US. And one of the finest examples of this is this old interview, where he calls out racism while explaining what prompted him to become a Muslim.
Through effective use of humor, because jokes weren't weapons of mass destruction at the time, Ali takes on the all-pervasive white supremacy much the same way he took on his opponents - with extreme skill and unparalleled confidence.
The sports icons of today, could definitely learn a thing or two from him. Naturally, people were in awe of Ali's wit and sense of understanding:
You can watch the complete interview here:
It is unfortunate that so much of what he talked about is still relevant for our society, as we continue to battle and fight against age-old prejudices, and widespread racism, casteism, and sexism. However, what's even more disheartening is that icons like Ali, who helped dismantle this system of oppression and fight for civil rights, are few and far in between in the 21st century.