Muhammad Ali Meets a Man of God

By Robert Ecksel on February 22, 2018
Muhammad Ali Meets a Man of God
“I always said if I was a Christian,” recalled Ali, “I would want to be a Christian like him.”

“No mansion with crystal chandeliers and gold carpets, it was the kind of a house a man of God would live in…”

Evangelist Billy Graham, one of the most influential religious leaders of the 20th century, passed away yesterday at the age of 99. Known as “America’s pastor,” he preached to 215 million people in 185 countries and ministered to seven presidents starting with Harry Truman.

Graham also had a personal relationship with Muhammad Ali. He wrote to Rabbi Marc Tannenbaum, Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee, suggesting that he and Ali meet and The Greatest jumped at the opportunity.

The champion first visited the minister in Montreat, North Carolina, in 1979. They discussed faith and the power of prayer and both men were duly impressed with the sincerity of the other.

“Ali’s primary beliefs are something we could all believe,” Graham said.

Ali was no less supportive of Graham.

“I always said if I was a Christian, I would want to be a Christian like him.”

Reflecting on that first meeting, Ali said, “When I arrived at the airport, Mr. Graham himself was waiting for me. I expected to be chauffeured in a Rolls Royce or at least a Mercedes, but we got in his Oldsmobile and he drove it himself. I couldn’t believe he came to the airport driving his own car. When we approached his home, I thought he would live on a thousand-acre farm, and we drove up to this house made of logs. No mansion with crystal chandeliers and gold carpets, it was the kind of a house a man of God would live in. I look up to him.”

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  1. jimmy 07:00am, 06/13/2018

    Nice blog post. the two legend boxer are together in the pictures.

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