Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest boxer that ever lived, passed away on Saturday, aged 74.
The worldwide outpouring of affection for Ali will seem over the top for those that can't appreciate what this man meant to so many. For this writer, it was the larger than life-sized poster that hung in the gym I attended as a 12 year old that captured my attention.
There was the perfectly proportioned Ali, smiling and leaning over the ropes. He was good looking, quick witted and did not have a scratch on him. He was what every skinny boy wanted to become after entering a gym. A visual inspiration to anyone that wanted to improve their appearance without a shirt. No bulging muscles here, just a great frame, with long arms that were connected to fists that did all the talking once the bell went for round one.
But this was the smallest of his inspirational gifts. Inspiring African Americans during the 1960's to push for social change, sacrificing his boxing career to protest against the war in Vietnam, having the courage to stand up for his religious beliefs, using his fame to spread peace and love throughout the world... any one of these could see him nominated for a Noble Peace prize.
Ali was a hero to a lot of people. How high he climbed on that hero pole is evident when we see how other iconic figures rate Muhammad Ali. He was a hero's hero. Many of the worlds leading authors, sportsmen, social commentators, President's and Prime Ministers consider Ali to be their hero.
A hero's hero. It does not get much better than that.