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Ali: Best Thing I Can Do Is ‘Get Ready to Meet God’

Brian Lonergan
By Brian Lonergan | June 6, 2016 | 3:29 PM EDT

“What’s the best thing that I can do? Get ready to meet God.”

Muhammad Ali (AP Photo)

Those were the words of the late boxing champion Muhammad Ali in a television appearance almost 40 years ago. The interview is one of many remembrances of the man nicknamed “The Greatest,” who passed away June 3 at age 74.

In July 1977 Ali accepted an invitation from former boxer Johnny Walker to visit England and help raise money for boys’ boxing clubs in the country. During the four-day visit, Ali was mobbed by fans. He agreed to be interviewed for a local television program and take questions from the audience. When asked about his thoughts on God, Ali was his typical verbose self. He held up a glass of water to make his point.

“To you who don’t believe in God, if I told you that this glass sprung into existence, this glass made itself, no man made this glass, would you believe it?” he said. “Would you believe if I told you this thing just made itself?

 

 

“If I told you this television station just popped into existence. No man made it, you’d say Muhammad Ali is crazy. If this glass can’t make itself, if I told you those clothes you have on wove themselves. Nobody created them. Those clothes made themselves, you wouldn’t believe it. But if your clothes didn’t make itself, if that glass couldn’t make itself, if this building didn’t make itself, then how did the moon get out there? How did the stars and Jupiter and Neptune and Mars and the sun. How did nature? How did all this come here?”

Ali was born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Ky. He converted to Islam in 1964. Two years later he refused to be inducted into the military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. As a result, he was stripped of his boxing titles and found guilty of draft evasion. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1971, but the episode kept Ali away from boxing for nearly four years at the peak of his career.

The full text of the video is below:

“So it’s how we can all break individual lives down. What am I going to do in the next 16 years? What’s the best thing that I can do? Get ready to meet God.

“Owning real estate, going in business, teaching boxers, that won’t get me to heaven. How many here believe there’s a supreme being? How many believe there’s some power that made the sun, the moon and the stars? How many believe that this stuff didn’t just come out here? Somebody wiser than us made it? How many believe there’s a God? How many believe there’s not a God? 

“To you who don’t believe in God, if I told you that this glass sprung into existence, this glass made itself, no man made this glass, would you believe it? Would you believe if I told you this thing just made itself? If I told you this television station just popped into existence. No man made it, you’d say Muhammad Ali is crazy.

“If this glass can’t make itself, if I told you those clothes you have on wove themselves. Nobody created them. Those clothes made themselves, you wouldn’t believe it. But if your clothes didn’t make itself, if that glass couldn’t make itself, if this building didn’t make itself, then how did the moon get out there? How did the stars and Jupiter and Neptune and Mars and the sun. How did nature? How did all this come here?

“So what I’m saying is, I believe we’re going to be judged. Should a man like Hitler kill all the Jews and get away with it? Somebody should punish him. Maybe he don’t get it now, he’ll get it when he dies. In hell for eternity. So what I’m going to do when I get out of boxing is to get myself ready to meet God because my plane might blow up. Don’t planes blow up in this country sometimes and crash? Don’t people die every day? It’s a scary thing to think that I’m going to hell. To burn eternally forever? So what am I going to do?

“When I get out of boxing, when I’m through, I’m going to do all I can to help people. That’s why I’m here with Johnny Walker. There’s a poor man, came all the way to America. Here’s bunch of boys need some money, and somebody’s calling me to help them. God is watching me. God don’t praise me because I beat Joe Frazier. God don’t give nothing about Joe Frazier. God don’t care nothing about England or America as far as wealth. It’s all his. He wants to know how do we treat each other.”

reak individual lives down. What am I going to do in the next 16 years? What’s the best thing that I can do? Get ready to meet God.

“Owning real estate, going in business, teaching boxers, that won’t get me to heaven. How many here believe there’s a supreme being? How many believe there’s some power that made the sun, the moon and the stars? How many believe that this stuff didn’t just come out here? Somebody wiser than us made it? How many believe there’s a God? How many believe there’s not a God? 

“To you who don’t believe in God, if I told you that this glass sprung into existence, this glass made itself, no man made this glass, would you believe it? Would you believe if I told you this thing just made itself? If I told you this television station just popped into existence. No man made it, you’d say Muhammad Ali is crazy.

“If this glass can’t make itself, if I told you those clothes you have on wove themselves. Nobody created them. Those clothes made themselves, you wouldn’t believe it. But if your clothes didn’t make itself, if that glass couldn’t make itself, if this building didn’t make itself, then how did the moon get out there? How did the stars and Jupiter and Neptune and Mars and the sun. How did nature? How did all this come here?

“So what I’m saying is, I believe we’re going to be judged. Should a man like Hitler kill all the Jews and get away with it? Somebody should punish him. Maybe he don’t get it now, he’ll get it when he dies. In hell for eternity. So what I’m going to do when I get out of boxing is to get myself ready to meet God because my plane might blow up. Don’t planes blow up in this country sometimes and crash? Don’t people die every day? It’s a scary thing to think that I’m going to hell. To burn eternally forever? So what am I going to do?

“When I get out of boxing, when I’m through, I’m going to do all I can to help people. That’s why I’m here with Johnny Walker. There’s a poor man, came all the way to America. Here’s bunch of boys need some money, and somebody’s calling me to help them. God is watching me. God don’t praise me because I beat Joe Frazier. God don’t give nothing about Joe Frazier. God don’t care nothing about England or America as far as wealth. It’s all his. He wants to know how do we treat each other.”

Brian Lonergan
Brian Lonergan
Brian Lonergan

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