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The Most Famous Person Ever

Posted June 6th, 2016 at 5:23 pm (UTC-5)
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It’s hard to believe that in this day of global connectivity that, arguably, the world’s most famous person ever achieved fame without the help of the Internet, social media or cable/satellite television.
Muhammad Ali was a force of nature and change agent. He was handsome (or, as he put it, pretty,) tall and chiseled. Eyes were drawn to him. And he commanded the spotlight as no athlete had ever done before. Although he basked in that spotlight, he also used it to expose racial inequities he saw in the United States. When he converted to Islam, he became the only Muslim many Americans knew. Ali said he would not go to war, and lost his prime money-making years by for his principled stand. Only Ali could be polarizing and unifying at the same time. He became the champion of the underdog.
In October 1974, few Americans could find Zaire on a map. But after Ali knocked out George Foreman to win the heavyweight title, the “Rumble in the Jungle” cemented Ali’s status as a global icon.
So much has been written about Ali since his death late Friday. But the thread that runs throughout is how he used his influence as a fighter for peace and equality.