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Comic for: June 4th, 2016
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Tribute: "Muhammad Ali"
Posted: Saturday June 4th, 2016 by

In the world of sports there are some true all time greats. But, how many of them transcended the sport they represented? Muhammad Ali was as dangerous with his mouth as he was with his hands. And that's what endears him to me. Sure, at the time, he would have lumped me in with the rest of the "white devils". But, in the prime of his career, he forfeited his heavyweight title and sacrificed massive amounts of endorsement money to stand up against being drafted into a war he considered "despicable and unjust". Now, I'm not willing to get into the politics of that stance, but keep in mind poor, young, uneducated black men were dying in disproportionate numbers in Vietnam, and Ali wasn't having it. Whether you agree or disagree, he was at least willing to suffer the repercussions of saying "no". I like to think I have that kind of gumption, but the truth is probably a good deal less so.

Eventually the US Supreme Court would uphold Ali's "conscientious objector" claim. And his religious views would turn him to a less radical belief system. Ultimately, Ali would use his boxing fame to promote peace, tolerance, and humanity around the world. To that end he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, and named a Messenger of Peace by the United Nations in 1998. That's the Ali I grew up with. Needless to say, as a Georgia boy, I was absolutely thrilled when, despite suffering Parkinson's, Ali was there to light the final torch for the Olympic games in Atlanta.

Another man I never met, but will always miss.

Muhammad Ali
1942 - 2016

About the artwork...
After several attempts at translating Muhammad Ali to my usual cartoon style, I realized that it just didn't apply. So I went with an illustration style I used in college. I hope you guys are okay with the temporary style shift. I think it's far more fitting.
[Artwork based on photo by Michael Gaffney]

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