...my name is Muhammad, Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali is dead.
That's not the way things are supposed to be. Immortals are supposed to live forever and if anyone ever deserved to be called immortal, it was Ali. Another chair from my youth is empty and this one hurts more than most.
I remember Ali.
I remember listening with my dad on the old red AM radio that I had on the headboard above my bed when he beat Sonny Liston. Back then he was known as Cassius Clay.
I remember him declaring that his name was now Muhammad Ali. That he was giving up what he called his "slave name."
I remember him beating Sonny Liston the second time with the so-called "phantom punch."
I remember him tearing through the heavyweight division with his "bum of the month club" on Saturday afternoons. Fights I used to watch on that old black and white TV in our living room.
I remember him refusing to be inducted into the Army saying that no Vietnamese ever called him a nigger so why should he go and fight them.
I remember his exile from boxing for five long years and I remember his vindication by the Supreme Court of the United States 8-0 that he was right and everyone else was wrong.
I remember his rejecting the idea of suing those that took away his livelihood for five years because he said that would make him a hypocrite. He would be suing them for doing what they thought was right just like he did what he thought was right.
I remember his comeback when he dismantled Jerry Quarry.
I remember his loss to Joe Frasier at Madison Square Garden when Joe unwittingly acted as the pawn of the reactionary elements in the country.
I remember Ali's defeat of Frasier in the "thriller in Manila."
I remember Ali's unexpected defeat of George Foreman using the "rope a dope" technique in the "rubble in the jungle."
I remember him donating $250,000 so a senior citizens center in New York City wouldn't have to close.
I remember his declining years when his skills deteriorated and I remember his retirement.
I remember him acting like a clown to distract attention from a clearly punch junk Joe Frasier in an interview so Joe wouldn't be ridiculed or embarrassed.
I remember him lighting the torch at the Atlanta Olympic Games.
So long champ. Save a place for me by the 3rd firepot on the left in hell.