• Charles Cherney

120: Ali - A Life

Recently I read Jonathan Eig's biography of Muhammad Ali entitled Ali: A Life (2017).


Muhammad Ali – born Cassius Clay (January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) – and nicknamed The Greatest, is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated figures of the 20th century, and is frequently ranked as the best heavyweight boxer of all time.


I found it hard to stop reading Eig's biography of Ali once I started reading it. You can't help but want to know what happens next.


Ali's life journey is a colorful – and complex – one.


At some point while reading this book, I hopped on YouTube and watch some Ali videos.

Suddenly, watching him, Ali sprang back to life for me.


There is something irrepressible about the man called The Greatest. Ali consciously played a role –namely, himself.


What is clear across the arc of his life is his sheer will and determination to stand out – and succeed. Mind you, he was not a saint. Ali would be the first to own that. But, man, did Ali talk the talk –and walk the walk.


No one is 100% confident all the time – except maybe Ali. This is what makes him so mesmerizing. You don't have to like boxing or boasting to be drawn in by Ali's faith in himself. He is Exhibit A in the power of self-belief.


I am looking forward to watching the Ken Burns documentary on Ali on PBS. I already know who will be the star of the show. And who I won't be able to stop watching. And what I might discover – about myself.