Boxing legend Muhammad Ali worked with people on both Right and Left. He endorsed both Ronald Reagan and Sen. Orrin Hatch (Hatch is slated to speak at his funeral) and also Jesse Jackson. Ali’s protest against war was based on the fact that segregation and Jim Crow laws made it morally difficult for him to fight overseas. Why should he go defend a nation that wouldn’t let him sit at a lunch counter? That turned a blind eye to lynching?

As we all are, he was flawed, but I don’t think he let himself get sucked into the more sinister/divisive elements during that era (e.g. the more vitriolic approaches of Malcolm X, Black Panthers, etc.). On balance, Ali was a force for good.

Artist Floyd Simmons joined me to remember the greatness of Muhammad Ali, both in and outside the boxing ring.

Simmons remembered meeting Ali, who was looking at the art Simmons had created for the FUBU Muhammad Ali Platinum clothing line.

“I was just shocked and happy to that he was amazed to see that I captured … this moment in his past,” said Simmons.

Cross-posted from Opportunity Lives.