Mr. Ali

Muhammad Ali died today and I’m one of the humans on this planet that was fortunate enough to come in contact with his greatness. I was working my way through school at Merritt College in Oakland, CA back in the early seventies by running the Audio/Video department. Ali had just lost a major fight and he was making an appearance at Merritt, which was a black school at the time.

My job was to record his speech, which really became a performance as the afternoon evolved. When he made his way to the stage, he stepped on my foot, from my position hunkered down behind the stage with my recording equipment. I remember making eye-contact with him and he had this look like do you want to make an issue of this?

Hmmm, no…

As he exited after his performance he walked by me again and I reached up and grabbed his forearm, and he stopped. I told him that I had just recorded him on tape for the Merritt College archives and asked him to sign the tape. He did…

The primary memory from that encounter is that his arm felt like a solid piece of steel. I had touched greatness in my own small way.

And the past is just a story we tell ourselves…

Categorized as Various


  1. OMG. I just sent this post to a few friends tonight, 4/27/2023, and realized that it appears to have just happened. No, June 4th 2016!

    Hmmm, and I just posted to a blog that has been shut down for almost five years. How funny!

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