Especially for a young boy in a remote village in Egypt, where the boxer’s battles had parallels.
Donald Trump, reacting last year to President Obama’s assertion that Muslims are among our sports heroes, slammed back: “What sport is he talking about, and who?”
I’m not interested in engaging in a sports contest, especially with a rich white man with bad hair. But my admiration of a black, Muslim sports hero started a long time ago.
As a youngster growing up in a small village in Egypt, I had only two heroes: Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and boxer Muhammad Ali. Nasser made his fame by championing the fight against Western imperialism and colonialism in the region, spreading Pan-Arab pride. Ali wasn’t just fighting in the ring, but, like Nasser, was fighting American imperialistic expansionism and its ugly war in Vietnam.