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Was Ali the Most Recognizable Person Ever?

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By Ken Hissner


In a world with satellite TV and the internet the world in general has gotten to see many celebrities of every walk of life. Two that come to mind are Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali. They happened to become friends later in the life of Presley.

Two years before Presley passed away he went to Ali’s Deer Lake, PA, training camp. Ali made a statement pertaining to Presley: “Elvis had a robe made for me. I don’t admire nobody but Elvis Presley was the sweetest, most humble and nicest man you’d want to know,” said Ali. My story on about Presley and Ali dated 7/30/2013 can be found at www.doghouseboxing.com entitled Two Kings: One of Rock n’ Roll & another of the Boxing Ring!


Once there was a “signing show” and baseball great Joe DiMaggio had a long line of autograph seekers. Ali walks in the room and everyone in the line ran over to Ali. DiMaggio was quite upset and left the room. Few seem to know Ali lived at 70th and Overbrook in Philly. When “Smokin” Joe Frazier was in training for his upcoming bout with Ali the fans outside and inside the gym came out to see Ali getting out of a car to “sneak a peek at Frazier in training through the gym window!” He was surrounded by fans emptying the gym.

Gangs were fighting in Newark, NJ, when Ali was spotted getting out of a limo. One of the gang members saw him and yelled “it’s Ali!” Both gangs ran over to seek out Ali! He fought in such countries as the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Malaysia, Canada, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Ireland, Zaire and the Bahamas even though he had a fear of flying.

The one trip that the world saw was in November of 1990 when Ali arrived in Iraq and met with Saddam Hussein in order to bring back American citizens who were being held hostage. After a meeting with Hussein in which they greeted one another Hussein said Ali would not leave empty handed. It was reported 15 American hostages were released on December 2, and returned to the US with Ali.

There’s been much world-wide publicity for such celebrities as Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Bob Hope and Wilt Chamberlain. Would the religious figures such as Mother Teresa, Rev. Billy Graham, the Dalai Lama and any of the Popes without their dress attire be recognized? Tiger Woods was not recognized recently at a non-golf event. Would any American presidents be recognized such as John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan Bill Clinton, George W. Bush or Barrack Obama? How about Nelson Mandela or Adolf Hitler?

Ali was voted “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. From President George W. Bush Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

Please let me know whoever reads this article “what do you think?”

Please send all questions and comments to Ken Hissner at: Kenhissner@gmail.com



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