“To Stu from (FROM) Muhammad Ali, May 11, 1981” – When the champion admired and then signed the photograph I took of him years earlier, he accidentally wrote “FROM” a second time. He was simply distracted, most likely; though judging by his remarks that day at a political event in Sacramento, his humility and sense of humor could have contributed as well.
The Sacramento Bee covered the appearance, which added to my personal recollections:
Asked about a recent heavyweight bout, Ali said, “I was considering another comeback, but that wouldn’t be wise. I’m too old.”
“I think I might try running for something,” Ali said, noting that he gets many guest appearance invitations when politicians are running for re-election. Assemblymember Maxine Waters responded, “Just don’t run in my district. Run in (then-Assembly Speaker) Willie Brown’s district.”
About another function at which he left behind a key to the city, Ali joked, “I left it behind on purpose. The gold ain’t real.”
It’s been 35 years since Speaker Brown recognized Ali’s cultural influence, “Without a doubt one of the biggest heroes, image setters, that this country has ever known.”
Praising her late father, who died June 3, Hana Ali said he was a “Humble Mountain!”
Forever, “The Greatest.” RIP Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)