Something Extra: Ali’s First “Pitch”

MIAMI (CBS4) – “Legend” is a word often used too loosely.

But, last night, in a bittersweet moment, a true legend surprised the millions watching the debut of Marlins Park.

Younger fans may not have recognized the man on the golf cart with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, but Muhammad Ali was once the most famous man in the world.

At a time when boxing was much more glamorous, he won Olympic gold and, in nineteen sixty four, the heavyweight boxing title.

But he converted to Islam, refused to be drafted to fight in Vietnam as a conscientious objector, was arrested and stripped of his title.

He then transcended his sport, helping inspire opposition to the war, becoming a hero to some, a villain to others.

When the Supreme Court overturned his conviction in nineteen seventy one, Ali fought his way back to the top, winning and losing some of the greatest fights of all time.

Parkinson’s has ravaged the body of the man who once floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee, who proclaimed himself “the greatest.”

His boxing comeback and the quiet dignity with which he’s lived his later years have healed what wounds remained from the Vietnam era.

He is, unquestionably, one of the most beloved athletes ever.  It was great to see the greatest back in Miami.


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