Muhammad Ali's Saturday Morning Wakeup
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Muhammad Ali's Saturday Morning Wakeup

Nick Roushover 5 years


Article written by:Nick RoushNick Roush


[caption id="attachment_200548" align="alignnone" width="600"]The cover of next week's Sports Illustrated. It will be his 40th cover, more than any other athlete. The cover of next week's Sports Illustrated. It will be his 40th cover, more than any other athlete.[/caption] The Commonwealth starts its weekend in mourning.  Louisville's Greatest, Muhammad Ali, is dead at the age of 74. Once or twice a year we get hit with a celebrity death that leaves a mark on society for a week or two.  But this is different.  No offense to Prince, David Bowie or even Michael Jackson, but this is different.  On my way to get a copy of today's C-J, I found tears welling up in my eyes and they haven't gone away. A three-time heavyweight champion, Ali wasn't just a boxer. A 1960 Gold Medalist, Ali was an outspoken, young black athlete during the most tumultuous decade of the Civil Rights movement.  He didn't "stick to sports," he stuck to his values.  He was willing to set sports aside for his values when he said, "Man, I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No Vietcong ever called me nigger." Even if it made him a divisive character, he never swayed, appealing and winning with the Supreme Court to return to boxing and take back the heavyweight title after being away from the sport for four years.  Wherever he went, the Louisville Lip shook up the world. Unfortunately, I never got to see Ali during his vibrant younger days.  His name carried mythological meaning in Louisville, with stories of that crazy kid Cassius Clay captivating crowds of kids, myself included.  Even if the storyteller was still bitter that Clay stole from his donut truck, those stories carry their weight in gold. Ali was a fighter, fighting any force in his way and never giving up.  Parkinson's disease brought him a new fight in the mid-80s.  It may have slowed him down, but it never stopped him.  He kept fighting.  He made plenty of public appearances late in life, but The Greatest was at his best in 1996, receiving a triumphant swan song in his return to the Olympics, lighting the Centennial Torch. The first memorial service will be at 10:00 a.m. at Louisville City Hall, with the flags being lowered to half staff.  His funeral will be held in Louisville later this week. The New York Times Obituary Sports Illustrated's Obituary

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