January, 17th was Muhammad Ali's birthday. Ann and I were blessed to be good friends with Muhammad and Lonnie for 35 years.
I consider it one of the greatest honors of my life to be asked to give a toast at Ali's 70th birthday party.
I was so grateful that Muhammad wrote the dedication to my book, Five Minutes to Midnight: Racism in American Sport.
We were so honored to induct Muhammad into the Hall of Fame of the Institute for Sport and Social Justice, then know as the National Consortium for Academics and Sport.
These are among my favorite Ali quotes:
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."
"Don’t count the days; make the days count.”
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.”
“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing”
"Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong."
If only all Americans believed that and lived by it.
Happy Birthday, Muhammad! We really do love you.
I wrote columns for ESPN.com on Muhammad Ali's 65th and 70th birthdays. This was the one I wrote when he passed. https://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/16001388/richard-lapchick-remembers-friend-muhammad-ali