As kids growing up in the 70’s we had no idea of the greatness, both good and bad, of our era. Nor could we comprehend how history would measure the time. Man had just walked on the moon after all.
Impossible suddenly became possible. Arthur won Wimbledon and Nixon resigned. MASH made comedy of war as we attempted to heal from a decade of endless war. The Beatles broke up and the King of Rock n Roll succumbed to his own greatness. We watched greatness rise and fall as if the Zenith console were a bakery for beginners.
Yet one rose above them all and only now, with time, can we begin to measure his greatness. “The greatest of all time.” Cassius Clay was born with a body built for boxing. Muhammad Ali was born with a mind made for greatness. In an indescribable twist of fate befitting an era of turbulence, Ali elevated the most brutal of sports to unprecedented heights and emerged an ambassador, for peace no less.
Ali was an entertainer, philanthropist, rebel, leader and poet. And he was a boxer. It was our time and he was the Legend. His rise and fall and rise again taught us many things. Too many to count. Only now after so much time can we begin to measure his meaning. Like him or not, agree or disagree, his words and his actions made us think, and for that we are better. Greater perhaps.
“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
― Muhammad Ali