Pugilist, Painter, Poet, Performer: The Many Sides of Muhammad Ali
Heavyweight Champion of the World. Messenger of Peace. The Greatest.
All these titles are used to describe Muhammad Ali, but they fail to capture all facets of his personality.
Muhammad Ali cannot be accurately described by a single word or title. He crossed the boundaries between professional fighter to activist to minister. What many people do not know is that he also crossed boundaries into film, television, art, and music--he was a true Renaissance Man, if there ever was one.
He surrounded himself with people of diverse backgrounds and professions, including artists, photographers, and musicians. For example, his father, Cassius Clay Sr., was a painter and taught Ali and his brother to be creative; his best friend, Howard Bingham, was an award-winning photojournalist and Ali's personal photographer; and another of his close friends, LeRoy Neiman, was one of the greatest sports artists to ever live.
While his humanitarianism and his time in the ring made Muhammad Ali a household name, he never limited himself as to what he believed he could do. Pugilist, Painter, Poet, Performer: The Many Sides of Muhammad Ali is an exhibit curated using items from the Muhammad Ali Center's permanent collection to showcase even more reasons to call him The Greatest.