On this day in 1942, llegendary boxer Muhammad Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky.
Olympic gold medalist and former heavyweight champion boxer Muhammad Ali—noted as one of the most recognizable personalities in sports—was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., often referred to himself as “The Greatest”, and his record in the ring supported that claim.
He was a three-time world heavyweight boxing champion, and one of his legendary bouts included what was dubbed the “Rumble in the Jungle.” Ali defeated reigning champion George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire, in 1974 regained his crown.
Ali wasn’t only a superstar of boxing, but at times he was a controversial figure. From changing his name from Cassius Clay to his political and social stances, he was never shy about expressing what he believed in.
According to the New York Times, he once stated: “I don’t have to be who you want me to be; I’m free to be who I want.” A proclamation he made after he won his first heavyweight title.
Ali, who had had Parkinson’s for more than 30 years, died on June 3, 2016. He was 74.