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April 9, 2024 49 mins

In our final episode, Ali transforms the life of Davis's son Isaac. We explore Ali's influence on today's generation.


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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:03):
It's a few days after January seventeenth, nineteen ninety two,
Mohammad's fiftieth birthday. In my fortieth, I brought my six
year old son, Isaac with me and our old Volvo
to visit the champ at his farm in Michigan because
I wanted Isaac to meet Ali, and Ali the perennial

(00:26):
cosmic child to play with Isaac. But it's also because
I'm hoping to expose Isaac to Mohammad's magic, to provide
him with some kind of safe place inside him, so
that Isaac won't have as tough a life as I had.

(00:47):
While we've been at the farm, Ali has played with
Isaac hour after hour, doing magic tricks, scaring him with
ghost stories, chasing him around the house, hiding behind furniture,
jumping out to Ticklizac. I used to sort of wonder
when I was gonna quit playing, Ali says, used to
sort of worry about it. Now I know I'm never

(01:08):
gonna quip. All through the time we've been at the farm,
the wind has been rattling the branches of trees. It's
been snowing just enough to make the driveway slippery. Mohammed
has picked up his baby's son As'ad, holding him in
his arms. He's escorted us out to the car, and

(01:29):
Mohammad's wearing his short sleeve shirt and his slick soled
city shoes leather soles. His balance is not good, maybe
especially holding a sod, and I'm concerned he might fall
and fall with the baby. As I turned the key
in the ignition, Muhammad closes our doors. There's a video

(01:50):
camera in the back seat. I grab it and push
the power button. Ali sees the camera opens Isaac's door,
snatching up my son.

Speaker 2 (02:02):
There's the next champion, the great Grave.

Speaker 1 (02:06):
Hop you had a great white help Isaac.

Speaker 2 (02:11):
This man will win the crown in two thy twenty.

Speaker 3 (02:16):
Look at the face two thy twenty.

Speaker 2 (02:20):
He will be the new way.

Speaker 3 (02:23):
And then I said, dope, I said who I will
be the manager? I mean ninety three. We will be
the Grays that day of all.

Speaker 1 (02:37):
The greatest of all times. Ali places my laughing son
back in his seat, drops aside to the ground, holds
his hand while pointing at the lens of the camera.
Watch my feet, he says. He turns his back to Isaac,
the camera and me, and takes about ten shuffling great

(02:58):
grandfatherly steps. There's a moment when the car engine seems
to stop, the wind doesn't move, the air isn't cold.
Looking over his left shoulder, Ali raises his arms perpendicular
to his sides.

Speaker 3 (03:14):
Oh, I show you the power of the mind, powerful
concentration blue.

Speaker 1 (03:20):
So then he levitates about three inches above the snowy driveway.
And although I've seen him perform this illusion many many times,
I turned to my son and smile as the most
famous man in the world rises from the earth once more.

(03:53):
What is a moment? How is it captured? Eat of
a shudder? What does this fraction of a second mean?
To Muhammad Ali, but decked in all white, as he
leans across to fake kiss me on the cheek, This glowing,

(04:14):
remarkable being whose name will likely be known and shared
long after he and you and I cease to breathe
and eat and fuck and sleep and dream. Trillions of
microorganisms live less than one second. Hundreds of blind greenland

(04:35):
sharks swimming right now in frigid, murky northern oceans have
been living for up to five hundred years. Bristle com
pines high up on arid Western American mountains, more than
five thousand humans developed written language and music fifty five

(05:00):
one hundred years before you and I were born Homo sapiens. We,
all of us, our direct ancestors, have existed for roughly
three hundred millennia. Life on our planet three point seven
billion years. Stars, solar systems, and galaxies swirl and evolve,

(05:21):
the metamorphose and die over tens of billions of years.
Everywhere we look, everyone in, everything we've known or will
ever know, is composed of atoms from stars that died
billions of years before our sun came to exist. My
friend Muhammad Ali has told me time and time again

(05:45):
that life ain't nothing but a vapor. These things said,
what in the world could this dream of a moment
actually mean? This moment in which I'm standing in front
one of a thirty five millimeter camera beside the greatest
of all times? Episode eight, We're all ghosts magic, Muhammad

(06:20):
Ali's magic, fathers and sons magic. I think about how
many families must have been influenced by Mohammed. I've been
lucky enough to see some of that in person, where
you can see the generation somebody who Mohammad knew back
in the sixties or seventies and it's the grandkids that

(06:41):
are now hanging out with him. The last time I
saw Rothmand after Mohammad passed, I said to him, man,
you're looking more like your brother. I'm a very, very
emotion person. I'm missing I'm about to cry. He just
got these huge tears and just started weeping. It makes

(07:03):
me think about missing my own dad and how at
the moment of his death I felt him pass into
me and it startled me. I did not expect that
he became part of me. He entered me, and he's
still there. I'm pretty darn happy right where I am
and what I've got with my own kids, but boy,
I sure do wish i'd had it with my father

(07:23):
as well. I was fortunate to be with Mohammed and Cash,
his dad, Cashius Marcellus Clee Senior, on one of the
last times Mohammed saw Cash. You could see Mohammed become
the father in many respects. Cash was much smaller than Mohammed.

(07:43):
He was basically I guess my size, and he draped
his arm around his father's shoulder while we were standing there,
and they walked down a sidewalk away from me, where
I'm just watching their backs. I had the feeling of
closure to it, a piece of art, even, and it

(08:07):
made me think about my own relationship with my dad.
Years later, I consider that, and I can see myself
with Isaac. These generations his fathers and sons stuff dads
are fairly stoic and removed, and I feel very fortunate
that I'm not Mohammed with young As'ad became a quite

(08:27):
good father earlier when he was boxing, when he was
the world's most celebrated person and very seldom at home.
He wasn't He was tender with his kids, but he
wasn't necessarily there to be available with a sad. Mohammed
told me that he wanted to be there for his son,
and he was with Isaac everywhere we went with Mohammed.

(08:51):
Mohammed made sure that if we were in a car,
that Isaac was on his lap the whole time, would
be right next to him, and Muhammed always wanted to
go somewhere. The thing that strikes me time and time
again is that the very first time Isaac saw him,
Mohammad pointed to both of us and up at me,
then down at Isaac. You'll remember this when you're an

(09:12):
old old man and guess what I'm about there now.
And indeed it's deep inside me that moment. Isaac talks
about it all the time. It's extraordinary that way. Today

(09:34):
we've had my best pal in the world with us,
my son Isaac, who in some way or another thinks
of Muhammad Ali as uncle Ali, uncle Mohammed, And it'd
be great to just sort of have a little remembrance
with my man here and share our adventure with Ali.

Speaker 4 (09:58):
Well, yeah, you'd stop did school to pick me up,
and I didn't really know why you came in. You said, hey,
we're going on a road trip. I was usually down
to go anywhere. You were famous for jumping in the
car and taking road trips was always something fun on
the other end of it, or just spending time with
you in the car. We hop in the car and

(10:19):
you would just go hours and hours talking, listening to music,
playing road games like the license Plate game and counting cows.
I want to say. We stopped in Louisville. We went
and visited Ali's mother. It struck me that that Missus
Clay's house was just so modest. It was just like
neighbored right next to you down the street. I don't

(10:41):
think she was doing well. She may have been just
kind of sitting in a chair, and she was pleasant,
very sweet. We packed up and kept on going and
ended up in varying springs and we pull up to
Ali's farm at the gate. At this point, you still
hadn't really told me who's seeing. I figure it out
when the intercom said that Ali I was not there

(11:03):
yet and to come back tomorrow. So we stayed the
night in a hotel and came back the next day.
And we show up at the house and Lannie invites
us in with her big ground smile and face, all
freckles and all, and invited us in for tomato soup
and grilled cheese sandwich. Is just like a neighbor or
a family member. Then a casad Ali and Lonnie's son

(11:25):
is there. I think he's two. I'm six years old,
but he's already as big as I am. And we're
all just hanging out and eating. Then Ali shuffles down
the stairs. This is my first time meeting Ali, and
very different than what I remember seeing in those old
fights that we used to watch up in the attic
at the Miller Street house.

Speaker 5 (11:45):
He was just.

Speaker 4 (11:46):
Glowing and vibrant and fast, watching him move and wondering, gosh,
is he gonna fall down? But then he shuffles over
and picks me right up, starts playing around, growling in
my ear up, just like you would have a niece
or nephew or grandson. And that's the vibe that I got.

(12:06):
Was like I was at my grandparents house seeing Ali
like that, very different than what I'd seen on tapes.
It was striking, but you're a kid, You're going with
the flow. He had this fake thumb with this red handkerchief,
and I remember him showing me a sleight of hand
stuff and of course I know how that works now,

(12:27):
but I was like totally enthralled by that.

Speaker 1 (12:30):
Do you remember him chasing you around the house, physically
chasing you around the room?

Speaker 4 (12:38):
People, Well, yeah, he did this like Frankenstein kind of thing.
And I'm running around the couch and he'd stick his
arms out like he was Frankenstein and grown. It's like
you're playing with another kid, really big kid.

Speaker 1 (12:53):
That was Ali. Do you remember him picking you up
to record and the things he said?

Speaker 4 (13:00):
He told me I was going to be the champion
in twenty twenty, that I'd be King of the World
or something along those lines. I used to kind of
feel as though that was some bit of prophecy, and
I wondered about it. Twenty twenty rolled around, and I'm like, man,
what is this year going to bring?

Speaker 1 (13:20):
Do you remember the levitation?

Speaker 4 (13:21):
Ali was so good with his illusions, even at that point,
which is striking for somebody who has Parkinson's because their
movements aren't very fluid and they have balance issues. Parkinson
shrinks everything right. It makes it hard to do fine
motor movements. And Ali was so good at that kind
of stuff. It was just incredible allowing us to come

(13:41):
up there and hang out with him and his family
over that course of two days, you know, I just
developed this close connection with him. I remember getting back
in the car and he had walked us outside and
we stood and talked in the driveway for a few minutes,
but it was cold. We weren't going to hang out
too long. He packed me up in the car, and
I want to say, he put me in front seat.

(14:02):
We're packed up, and we're ready to go, and you
get in the car and start it up, or you
start driving away. And I don't know what it was
but something compelled me to unbuckle the seat belt and
climb over the seat. And I remember getting in the
back of the station wagon and looking through the back
glass and I wasn't even looking at you, but you
just sensed something. But you sense that I was emotional

(14:24):
and I was crying, and I mean I was just
tears kind of running down my face.

Speaker 1 (14:30):
And he said, what's going on, buddy, And I.

Speaker 4 (14:32):
Said, it just doesn't make sense how something like that
can happen to some of as cool as Alis as kind.
That whole experience certainly carries with me. I'm a physical
therapist assistant, so I treat people who had surgeries or
they've got balance issues. I get flashbacks of Ali, and

(14:52):
the compassion just flows through me, and I try to
make deeper connections with people. That experience, for me was special.
It's always striking to me that everybody, young or old,
all have these stories. Somehow Ali has affected their life
or inspired them in one way or another.

Speaker 1 (15:11):
I remember that first experience. It was a field trip.
It had to be educational. Yeah, we got back and
I don't think I.

Speaker 4 (15:20):
Was really supposed to miss school, But you had a
really interesting way of pulling it off with my teachers
and basically setting up a show and tell kind of
day where we I think we even brought that video,
that VHS tape, then showed them the VHS tape of Ali.
We talked about that experience and talked about Ali, and
kids drew up these cards, drew pictures for him. I

(15:44):
hope that those got to him. And for weeks after that,
these kids were out there throwing punches at each other.

Speaker 1 (15:50):
And you know, I am the greatest.

Speaker 4 (15:52):
It was funny.

Speaker 1 (15:56):
Those cards. I mailed them, and I know that Muhammad
got them. I set yours aside a little differently. But
you may not remember the one you made. Do you
remember the drawing you made for him? No, I don't.
And he mailed it back, and he mailed back one
that I've never given you that he drew. Maybe this
will be a good time to give it to you.
Oh my gosh Ahi the artist. His dad was a painter.

(16:18):
Brother Rochman is a painter, and Muhammad was a pretty
good sketcher. He loved to do these little cartoon drawings.
And you did a little cartoon drawing of him in
a blue ballpoint pen and he's in the center of
the ring and you wrote it as Mohammed, let me
spell with the T and you put Muhammed the winner

(16:42):
in a cartoon bubble beside his head with his arms
over his head. I think you may have drawn the
guy flat beside him as the loser.

Speaker 4 (16:53):
I'm getting some slight memory of this now, Yeah.

Speaker 1 (16:57):
Muhammad the Winner, you drew you spectators kind of around
the ring. Well, Mohammad did the same thing what he
sent you back that I've never shown you his own
drawing of himself in a ring. Gosh and love Mohammed.
I'll frame it and give it to you, oh Man. Yeah, no,
I'm anxious now, Hi, Craig.

Speaker 6 (17:21):
I have fun memories of time spent with my dad
and his dad, my grandfather, who I was very close to,
and I'm getting a little choked up talking about it.
I mean, it must have been wonderful for you to
share this experience with your dad.

Speaker 5 (17:37):
Yeah.

Speaker 4 (17:37):
I don't have children, but I feel as though if
I did have children, I would definitely want to try
to create a similar experience somehow.

Speaker 1 (17:48):
I think for me, I always wanted to make your
world larger and you did.

Speaker 4 (17:54):
Yeah, you definitely did that. That wasn't the only road
trip that we went on. He would just pick up
and get in the car and go to the mountains,
and we did that fairly often, and I was always ready.
I wanted to see what was out there that expanded
my worldview, especially spending time with Ali expanded my worldview.
He was of a different culture, of a different religion.

(18:16):
That was a profound moment because I'd only had exposure
to the world within my own four walls and within
my small city that I live in and my neighborhood.
And getting out like that it makes me want to
do that now more. Just like you stopping on your
way through Louisville, you didn't know what was going to

(18:36):
come next when you met Ali and developed a personal
relationship with him, and you never would have had these
experiences had you not taken that risk.

Speaker 1 (18:45):
It is a risk.

Speaker 4 (18:46):
That's what I'd take with me when I'm out there
as a musician. Now, I talk to everybody that experienced
helped me develop relationships to take me places that I
may have never gotten a chance to go otherwise.

Speaker 1 (19:00):
I don't think I would have done that had Muhammad
Ali not been in my life from a distance as
a kid, and then as an adult. I don't think
I would have been that adventurous.

Speaker 6 (19:11):
What does it mean to you that Ali had such
a profound impact on your father's life.

Speaker 4 (19:21):
It means everything. He's spent a lifetime living in the doubt.
If Ali, that's the way of it's in the footsteps.
Through meeting him, you opened doors that you never would have.
You followed your dream, you became a writer. Ali gave
you the confidence to follow that dream, and that means everything.

(19:41):
It also trickled down to me the way that I've
been influenced by you and the life that you've led,
the way that you've used writing as It inspired me
to read a lot as a kid, and I feel
like that helped a lot, just expanding your mind and
opening doors that never would.

Speaker 1 (20:00):
Have been opened otherwise. My dad.

Speaker 4 (20:02):
I think spent time with him in early twenty sixteen,
maybe January or February, so this was only a few
months before he passed. He was a bit of a shell,
but there was still spark. I know what it does
to you, It just literally sucks the life out of you.
It's just an incredible that he did, and to travel
to all these places and meet with people constantly because

(20:24):
you're wiped. When you have Parkinson's, you're fighting that rigidity
all day and it just takes so much out of you.
To see that he was still very actively a humanitarian.
Was incredible.

Speaker 6 (20:40):
So he was dead on when he said, when you're
an old man, you're going to remember this.

Speaker 4 (20:44):
Oh yeah, oh yeah, no doubt.

Speaker 6 (20:52):
To not only play, but to compose some music for
this series dedicated to Ali. How much of a who
does that for you?

Speaker 2 (21:00):
Oh?

Speaker 4 (21:01):
Man, it's really cool. I try to dig deep on
the stuff that I'm doing, and I try not to
think that I'm writing so much as just close my
eyes and free flow, move shape your movement around what's happening.
I just try to feel and let the music move
through me rather than make the music or compose it.

Speaker 6 (21:25):
That's the best creativity when it just flows out of you.

Speaker 4 (21:28):
Yeah, And it's funny because your body shakes and you
have this out of body experience. I'm a big softie,
but there's times I'll be playing and it's just hitting
me so hard at that tears start coming out and
just crying because at that point I'm not controlling what's happening.
It's just moving through me, and it's this very spiritual experience.

(21:49):
There's not anything in the world like that. Every time
I play music, I chase that when something truly organic
happens and you're in a group of people and you're
just you're just dialed, everybody's die and you're in a groove,
and there's almost times like you just close your eyes
and you stop thinking and then it just flows. And

(22:11):
I imagine that maybe that's the way writing it. My
dad talks about that a lot of times. He'll just
make things quiet, walk in the woods, be inspired by
what's around and let it happen and let it flow
through him. And I imagine that with Ali that was
the same way. There were times that he just let

(22:33):
it go and he would just move and flow.

Speaker 6 (22:38):
I'm certain that he'd be thrilled that that little boy
he met way back when he was making music for him.

Speaker 4 (22:47):
Oh man, When my dad approached me about that and
said that that was something that he wanted to do
and that it was a possibility that it was going
to happen, my heart skipped a.

Speaker 1 (22:58):
Couple of beats.

Speaker 4 (22:59):
It's a little overwhelming, but the honor of that, because this,
in my mind, is the pinnacle we're reaching ahead with
a lot of the stories that you have with Ali,
finally getting it down in a visceral way.

Speaker 1 (23:17):
This is one of those things you don't ever say
to your own son, Okay, at least I don't think
I've said it to you when you were born, in particular.
I still every time I look at you and we're close,
you're right in front of me, I see my father,
I see you. I see every detail of you. I
feel your entire life from conception to now. But you

(23:39):
have my dad's eyes, and you're tender like my father,
and as you say, a hard to make you cry,
and obviously you got that from me, sir. But I
look in those eyes and the shape of them and
the depth of them, it's my daddy. When you were born,

(24:01):
the very first moment I looked at you, I saw
my father, and it was straight up llucinogenic. I saw
my grandfather, and generations spilled out of you, just tumbled
out of you over and ogain people I could never
possibly know, And there they were, or a dozen two

(24:22):
dozen generations just went further and further and further back
inside you. I'd never had that experience before. I've never
had it since. And It is one of the most
powerful experiences of my life, and related to Mohammed. We
carry him on through us, and we carry him on

(24:44):
through you and your friends, and your wife and her family,
and that's everywhere in the world. It's everywhere in the
world with that man. I've been around the world more
than some people, and everywhere I went it was Mohammed Ali,
Mohammad Ali.

Speaker 4 (25:08):
I wish I'd gotten more time to spend with my dad.

Speaker 1 (25:13):
Yeah, me too.

Speaker 4 (25:15):
Yeah, I do have very vague memories. You were, you know,
but I was young. I think, God, how old was
I three when he died?

Speaker 1 (25:23):
I can remember three. You were three when my dad died,
sitting on his lap, read little Horsey.

Speaker 4 (25:28):
Go down to little Horsey. You're bouncing you on his knee.
And I think those memories were reinforced because you did that.
We talked about him, and I just I never got
a chance to know him as a man. Unfortunate both
of my mom's parents lived until I was in my thirties,
and I got to know them as as people and
love them. But I I really wish I'd gotten a

(25:52):
chance to know Paul. Paulk It just sounded like such
a cool and kind hearted person.

Speaker 1 (25:59):
Yep of person I've ever known.

Speaker 4 (26:05):
But I mean, you and I have had quite a ride.
I've been there with a lot of moves and ups
and downs in your life now having two younger half
brothers and you getting married again and living here and there,
and I wouldn't trade it for anything. We always seem

(26:25):
to go somewhere that's quiet, and I love that. I
like separating from society sometimes and just having time to
spend even if we just sit in silence at it,
it's time that we get to spend together.

Speaker 1 (26:36):
And well, I think that's true.

Speaker 4 (26:39):
Sometimes words aren't necessary. I've never hugged anybody that's hugged
me tighter.

Speaker 1 (26:45):
That's me, yeah, yeah, And that's me with you.

Speaker 6 (26:54):
When Mohammad passed in twenty sixteen, that was a bad year.
What were your emotion How did you feel when you
found out that he had passed.

Speaker 4 (27:04):
This is going to sound selfish and weird, but I
thought of my dad. My immediate thought was, oh my god,
how's my dad going to handle this? Because he had
just lost his very good friend, Charlie Charles, his great
Pyrenees had just died. I mean, twenty sixteen was rough.
Not to be selfish, but yeah that when I heard
of Ali passing, it was a shock.

Speaker 1 (27:25):
In a way.

Speaker 4 (27:26):
I knew that he wasn't doing well, but my thoughts
immediately turned to my dad and I thought, God, he's
going to be a wreck.

Speaker 1 (27:34):
From our Melbourne headquarters.

Speaker 4 (27:36):
This is seven News with Jennifer Kayne Good Evening.

Speaker 7 (27:39):
The world has lost a legend with the death of
Muhammad Ali.

Speaker 4 (27:42):
Once named Sportsman of the cent is gone.

Speaker 6 (27:45):
Muhammad Ali, three time heavyweight champion and arguably the world's
most famous athlete.

Speaker 8 (27:51):
This week we lost an icon, somebody who was a
personal hero of mine, somebody who ended up transforming not
just the world of sports, but the world as a whole.

Speaker 1 (28:11):
My nickname was Fetus. I was pushed into lockers and
locked up inside the My mom had died. Lynn and
I are divorcing. My dad died the conscientious of check

(28:36):
the cosmic child.

Speaker 4 (28:37):
I'm the.

Speaker 1 (28:40):
World heavyweight champions. They come and go destroyed. But in
Muhammadadi's case.

Speaker 6 (28:50):
You want me to go somewhere and fight.

Speaker 1 (28:53):
This would never be crazy almost because forever he will
always the people's champion. My man Ali, I'm the miracle man.

Speaker 7 (29:26):
Bless Mhammad Ali. Peace enough to all his family. The
Prime Minister of the Cameron, in the last few moments
has tweeted Muhammad Ali was not just a champion of
the ring, he was a champion of civil rights.

Speaker 9 (29:40):
There was a bar, a very strange bar, Isaac and
Hyder upstairs, spending the night in the burying springstowns, sleeping
in a massive, king sized bed, I feel myself being
tugged awake by the streaming.

Speaker 1 (30:03):
Watery light of a full moon, tugged to a window
opposite the bed. I look out the window and down
onto the pond, the same pond with the sheep on
the Ali farm trink and there's Mohammed, his back turned
to me, dressed in white, exactly like that first night

(30:26):
I spent with him at his mom's house, dressed entirely
in white, glowing under the moon, standing at the edge
of the pond, looking out across the water. I sense
him getting ready to raise a foot and step into
the pond. Then I wake from the dream. The first

(31:01):
time I visited the Ali farm back in nineteen eighty eight,
Mohammed suddenly inexplicably asked me a question, you believe in ghost?
He says, no, no, no, no, I say, I'll show
you a ghost. I'll make you believe. From his big
magic trunk, which he keeps on the wall beneath the

(31:23):
stairway that leads up to the main part of the house,
he pulls a thin white cloth, which he places on
a coffee table. He waves his hands across the cloth
and says, arise, ghost, Arise. The cloth quavers and a
peak appears in the middle. Told you there's a ghost

(31:44):
in the room, he says. I ask, do you believe
in ghost?

Speaker 5 (31:49):
Do you?

Speaker 1 (31:50):
Ali says, I hesitate, yes, I say, I study his face.
He doesn't seem surprised. You're a ghost, I say, or
I guess. I mean the images people have of you,
what they and me and even you say you represent,
those are ghost And I'm a ghost too. The way

(32:12):
I feel a need to get something about you on paper,
to write the best story in me and have it
carry on after my body is gone, that's being a ghost.
But it's not the only way I'm one. We're all ghosts, walking, talking, spirits,
all of us in countless ways, all the time. Man,

(32:37):
that's powerful, heavy. And then he looks at me seriously.
He levels his eyes and quietly he says, I always
knew somebody like you would come along.

Speaker 9 (32:53):
Man.

Speaker 1 (32:54):
Immediately, Wow, I puff all up. But then see the
smile and I know once again he's got me. He says, Look,
you're not as dumb as you. Look, what is happening.

Speaker 10 (33:17):
I can't believe I'm here. My dad was superman. My
dad is not supposed to die. Of course, I knew
my dad was suffering from a condition for now over
thirty years, but for some reason, I never even thought
about it happening because it was a painful thought. He
was diagnosed with Parkinson's. He always said, now my life

(33:38):
is starting. So when it finally happened, I was like,
this is not happening. At the end, we were blessed
to spend one on one time with my dad and
talk to him. At the end, he couldn't speak. I
know he could hear us, so each one of us,

(34:01):
the kids and the grandkids, are like we were able
to really talk to him one on one and tell
him whatever we wanted to tell him. My Selfish Mo
popped in and was like, don't leave, Please, don't leave me.
I'm not ready for my dad too. That was my friend,
and I wasn't ready to not hug him and kiss

(34:26):
him and laugh. At some point I had to say,
it's okay, We're gonna be fine. But I told my
dad I would carry on your life and legacy to
the best of my ability. I'll try to carry on,

(34:47):
and I've been trying ever since. My dad held on
longer than he was supposed to. Even the doctors like,
how was he still here? Because he was waiting for
my brother. He was waiting for his son Muhammed. I'll
lead Jr. To arrive. During that span of time, MAM's
Aade was reading from the Koran for hours and hours

(35:13):
and hours. He didn't take a break, he didn't drink anything.
He didn't he was just reading from the Koran. It
was the most beautiful sind off that I've ever seen
in my life. Daddy was listening to the Koran, the
words of the Almighty, up until his last breath. And
he didn't take a break, He didn't stop, he didn't
He was constantly reading the Koran. He was the most

(35:35):
beautiful thing. I've ever been this in my life. Then
they had to chuck the machines off. Daddy still hung
in there. He was able to say goodbye to his
son and everyone. And when we were all were leieving

(35:59):
because the staff had to prepare the body. You had
to be covered in a Muslim shroud that you and
the man's aide had to be there to make sure
it was done courd in our tradition. And I loked
at Zaid and I said, take care of my father.
He said, I'm not going to leave his side.

Speaker 2 (36:24):
It's an honor to be able to assist because these families,
we have to do a lot more for even Malcolm
X's daughters. This is African American royalty and they have
a right over us as a community. We fall in short.
These are global icons that came from humble beginnings and

(36:48):
were elevated by God, Almighty God, and had a global
impact and a global reach that extends to this very day.
To have an opportunity with members of Muhammad Adi's family
is a great, great honor.

Speaker 11 (37:03):
So I met my dad at the door and he
looks at me and he said, what's that boy? And
I just looked at him and my eyes just welled
up and I said, Dad, it's Muhammed And he looked
at me. He went no, no, no, no, no, come on, Dad,
We go and sit down. So we sat on the
edge of the bed and we both just sat there.
We hugged detail and cried, and then my dad went downhill,

(37:26):
very very quickly. Ten months later he passed away. It
brings back memories of what my dad said and how
true it was when Muhammad goes, I'll be going soon after,
and he did ten months later.

Speaker 6 (37:41):
It's it's a strange coincidence that Howard Bingham died in
twenty sixteen too. Yes, it is his other great friend.

Speaker 1 (37:54):
With them in the morning.

Speaker 5 (37:55):
There were rabbis, there were priests there, there were ministers there,
Baptist ministers. Everybody was there, everybody, and that's how you
planned it. I want to go through my old neighborhood.
I want my neighbors to be able to see me.

Speaker 1 (38:11):
Everybody was together from all over the world. I met
Jews hugging Muslims. I met people I'm still in touch
with now that I only saw for ten seconds. And
if we stop and we'd hug or shake hands and
they're still in my life. And that's your.

Speaker 10 (38:30):
Daddy, showing respect, shouting, screaming. They had Ali's shirts on,
they were chanting. I was like, this is the most
beautiful thing in my darkest hour. This is the most
beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Speaker 6 (38:50):
We were watching on TV, thinking like, gee, that might
be close to where we are. We ran down from
the hotel. We just made it to that street corner
with about thirty seconds to spare ay. I've never been
through something like that before.

Speaker 1 (39:03):
Never.

Speaker 6 (39:04):
The people were five six deep on the sidewalks and
hurricane the hearse. Everybody was throwing flowers on the windshield.
I don't know how the driver could drive because it
was full of cut flowers.

Speaker 1 (39:14):
And I reached out and touched the hearse.

Speaker 10 (39:20):
When we were driving from the funeral home to the cemetery,
it was about three or four miles. It took us
two hours to get there, just driving and watching hundreds
of thousands of people lined on the streets. I couldn't
see the street like, I couldn't see what color the

(39:41):
street was. It was people side by side, every single race,
every single nationality, every single color, every single age.

Speaker 8 (39:50):
People were waved.

Speaker 10 (39:51):
I was in the car with my family and my
boys and my twin and if you lowered the window
just to wave, I heard people's chant thank you, and
I'm looking, why are they saying thank you, and later
on I said, oh, it came back to me being

(40:13):
the selfish person there thanking me for his charity. My dad,
it was just so beautiful. My dad had a recurring dream.
Daddy was in Louisville standing above a lot of people
who were chanting, and he was flying above all. This

(40:37):
is a recurring dream my dad had for many, many years.
And he was flying above a lot of people and
they were chanting and he was waving at them. And
when I saw the procession, when I was in it,
I was like, this is Daddy's dream, so I know
he was there. What a beautiful way to be able
to bring together people all over the world. They were

(41:02):
from Australia, They're from the Middle East, they were from Africa,
they were from all parts of the globe, China just
some of them meant broke. Some people were like, I
don't know how I'm going to get home, but I'm
going to get a one made ticket. I'm going to
just say farewell to the champ. Some of them never
met him, but they felt like they knew him, because

(41:23):
that's how my dad did. He made you feel like
he made you feel like you know him.

Speaker 2 (41:28):
Personally family.

Speaker 10 (41:30):
It is a unique gift. And I remember when we
were driving to Cave Hill Cemetery, the weirdest thing happened.
I saw a person in a hospital robe and he
had an oxygen tank. I couldn't believe it. He left
the hospital bed. We loved each other for the one
day there was over two hundred thousand people in this treason.

(41:54):
There was no fighting. We were all saying goodbye.

Speaker 2 (41:58):
We believe as most of them. There's some people who
are dams, as in a dam on the river that
blocked evil. I firmly believe Ali was one of those
people that had the ability to block evil. And when
these people are in the world, the impact the environment,
the social, cultural, spiritual environment in a way that blocks evil.

(42:22):
An example of that from in Louisville, which is a
very dangerous place, a lot of gang activity, shooting, homicides.
From the time Ali passed until the time he was
entered into his grave, there wasn't a single shooting in Louisville,
and as soon as he passed away started right back up.

(42:44):
It was one of those people that was able to
block a lot of evil.

Speaker 10 (42:52):
Sometimes and I'm going through some stuff and I feel down.
My dad would come to me in a dream, I'll
feel his preser. I just feel him watching me, and
whenever I do feel that, I say thank you. It's
a gift to be able to feel his presence again.
Even if he comes. When he talks to me in
my dreams, I wake up and thank.

Speaker 9 (43:13):
You so much.

Speaker 10 (43:15):
Just like my death, Sound'm free to be who I
want to be. You're free, You're really free. And the
only thing that gives me solace is that he doesn't
have Parkinson's anymore. He's healthy and he's beautiful. Every time
he comes to my dream he's young and pretty.

Speaker 4 (43:28):
I'm free to be what I want to be.

Speaker 1 (43:32):
Thankful, I won't think.

Speaker 5 (43:38):
He's just unique. What he was doing seems so outside
the realm of the norm. That he was alone. That's
one of the things I respect most about him. He
didn't take his cues from anybody. There's a universal theme
to the feeling that is reflected back at Ali because

(44:03):
he gave. He gave all of us something. When he passed,
I took Taylor with me because I knew she'd have
an understanding of it. There wasn't a lot of sadness.
It felt like a celebration of life. Everybody is here
to show their respect for this man and what he

(44:24):
gave us. Paying it forward a lot of times. Is
keeping the story going so that people will never forget. Yes, yes,
so people will never forget.

Speaker 6 (44:35):
Generations from now they're going to be talking about this.

Speaker 5 (44:40):
Yes, generations from now talking about this man. Yes, what
was he like? I never sawgn flinch, never stand up, individual,
stand up, human being and a proud black man.

Speaker 1 (44:52):
We still talk about him.

Speaker 2 (44:54):
I say, a week or doesn't go by that we
don't have a conversation about Ali.

Speaker 12 (44:59):
I'm so honored to have a piece of him with me.
I feel like he's here now. He lives in us.
His legacy is, without question, one of the greatest lives
ever lived.

Speaker 1 (45:11):
His eyes still sparkled.

Speaker 13 (45:12):
There was something about those eyes that, no matter what
happened to the rest of us, by his eyes never
dim the last time.

Speaker 5 (45:19):
It was hard for me to see him like that.
But who am I to pity.

Speaker 1 (45:23):
Him when he ain't pity in himself.

Speaker 13 (45:25):
Nobody really understood how great he was because the greatness
wasn't in the center of a ring or standing on
the portial. When you're alone with him and understand that
the principles and things he talks about, he.

Speaker 5 (45:39):
Really believed that's what made him great.

Speaker 13 (45:41):
Here's a guy who would several times rest everything, even
lost the title, and never.

Speaker 5 (45:46):
Shook on his gleaves.

Speaker 13 (45:48):
I think that it will take probably decades, if not centuries,
for us to really understand how he shifted the culture.

Speaker 5 (45:56):
He redefined what success was.

Speaker 13 (46:00):
It's not about what you have, it's not about the
awards they give me. Is what do you stand for now?
Ali level of success?

Speaker 1 (46:13):
How long will people know Mohammad Ali in this world?
As long as there are human beings, He's going to
be known.

Speaker 6 (46:21):
As long as there are storytellers to keep the legend alive.

Speaker 1 (46:26):
I see Muhammad is genuinely timeless. I think as long
as there are people. I like the way that Kriig
said that, as long as there are storytellers, Muhammad will
be known. The poetry of the name, the poetry of
the deeds, the poetry of the man. He's going to
pass into classic mythology. He's just not going to go away.
I think it's world mythology who's known over the centuries.

(46:48):
Wouldn't the poet Homer of loved Muhammad Ali he would
be a perfect character in the Iliad and the Odyssey
if people around just fifty more years or fifty thousand
more years. I don't know how long we're going to
be here if we get our act together, though. I
think Muhammad's always going to be known by people, and

(47:09):
there's always going to be storytellers. And boy did he
give us some good ones.

Speaker 14 (47:19):
I never liked us say I cannot once we say
I cannot. We have made a suggestion to ourselves. We
have weakened our power of accomplishing that which otherwise could
have been accomplished. For one to mention yourself, I have
no force, I have no thought, I have no intelligence,
only mean working against ausself.

Speaker 1 (47:45):
The Tao of Muhammad Ali is produced by Imagine Audio
for iHeart Podcast and hosted by Me Davis Miller. My
co host is Craig Mortally, Karl Welker, Mark Bouch, Nathan Kle,
Derek Jennings and Little Owe. Me Davis Miller are executive producers.

(48:06):
Produced by Craig Mortality, sound design and mixing by Juan Border,
music by Djsparr and introducing a very good pal of mine,
Isaac Miller. Additional music by William Ryan Fritch and also
Luminessence track Nuage. Visit Luminescent music dot com to check

(48:29):
out more from the band. I want to give a
ring center thanks to our showrunner Derek Jennings for his
masterful composition and for his passionate connection with this project.
Just one more thing I'd like to say. There's no

(48:49):
beginning and no end to my stories about Ali Mohammad
has made my life bigger, broader, deeper, and stranger than
I could have ever am. And there's so many more
stories I'd love to share with you, big, timeless, universal stories.
If you'd like us to do that, let us know

(49:11):
at writer Davismiller dot com and we'll do our best
to get them out there to you in some form,
maybe in the second season of this podcast. Thanks for listening.
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