From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Ali, Muhammad [Cassius Clay]

(born: 1942  -  died: 2016) 

Born in Louisville, KY as Cassius Clay, he was the son of Marcellus and Odessa Grady Clay. In 1964 he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali; he is also referred to as "The Greatest."

Ali won the light heavyweight gold medal as a member of the U.S. Boxing Team at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy. He was taken to California by his lawyer, Alberta O. Jones, to train under Archie Moore. Jones, a Kentucky native, also established a trust fund for Ali, who was an exceptional boxer with great promise.

Ali's career included 56 wins in 61 bouts with 37 KOs, and he was three-time heavyweight champion of the world. Ali was honored as Sportsman of the Century in 1999.

For more see the University of Louisville research guide Muhammad Ali: A Transcendent Life: HomeKing of the World, by D. Remnick; and see photos and video at The Official Muhammad Ali website. Muhammad Ali died June 3, 2016 in Phoenix, AZ. See "Muhammad Ali dies at age 74 after long battle with Parkinson's disease," an ESPN website.

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“Ali, Muhammad [Cassius Clay],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 28, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-01-13 16:07:31