Lets go into some facts. The real Cassius Clay did more to help Blacks than the NOI. He was a dedicated abolitionist and was frequently violently attacked. Cassius Clay was no slave name, it was a tribute to an abolitionist with human flaws. Unfortunately, few people ever challenged Ali. There was little talk of his symbiotic relationship with showman Howard Cossel. They used each other and made millions from
a silly clown act.
The NOI that Ali converted to was and remains a racist cult. It should not be confused with traditional Islam. Lost in the mix was both Malcolm X and Ali went to a more mainstream version of the faith. Islam like any other faith has
It's pros and cons. No version of the faith believes in mad scientists creating white people. The alleged founder of the faith is more mystery than fact. Nobody knows where Wallace Fard comes from or went including the FBI. The son of Elijah Muhammed tried to move the faith towards a more conventional view of Islam. Louis Farrakhan embraces the racist, anti Semitic cult past. Ali did wise up and became a Sufi. What the NOI said about violence is debatable and claims of pacifism hypocritical.
The real crime of Ali was the circus clown act. He had zero reason to be disrespectful to Joe Louis. He could have done his acts without calling good men Toms and gorillas. Ali demanded attention and hype and did not care who he hurt. In later years, he made peace with ode he slandered.
The greatest crime of Ali was to step in the ring with Larry Holmes. That needless pummeling should have been avoided. Yes he wanted a last gate, but it was shameful.
In fairness in later years Ali embraced peace as a Sufi. He came from a cartoon cult to a point of embracing a higher principle. I did not need Ali to say he rejected terrorism. Even in his goofy NOI days nothing he said in jest could endorse the crimes against humanity committed in the names of Islam.
If you want to tell the Ali story it is not completed with understanding how he grew as a man. In growing to be more respectable and mainstream perhaps there is a Muhamad Ali in many of us.
We should celebrate the athlete who grew more wise as he aged. Sports is a business and showmanship to build a gate was part of the job