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Credit: Youtube AP

Muhammad Ali, Simply ‘The Greatest,’ Dead at 74

Muhammad Ali passed away Friday at the age of 74.

Muhammad Ali, the eloquent, colorful, controversial and brilliant three-time heavyweight boxing champion who was known as much for his social conscience and staunch opposition to the Vietnam War as for his dazzling boxing skills, died Friday.

Ali, who had a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, was taken to a Phoenix area hospital earlier this week where he was being treated for a respiratory issue. He was 74.

It was probably 2001, I was in NYC preparing for “The NFL Today on CBS,” when I met Muhammad Ali. I had one of my boys with me for that weekend and the two of us were in the lobby leaving the hotel when Ali walked right up to us. 

I was tongue-tied and acting like a kid who was meeting his hero. Well, I was. Later, my son said, “Dad, you were goofy!” Haha, yes I was! 

Ali took a red handkerchief out of his pocket and did a trick for us. He didn’t speak, just smiled and did his trick. His hands were shaking from the Parkinson disease he suffered from. But you couldn’t hide his joy from within and without question, the fact he knew he was making our day. My son and I laughed at his trick and thanked him for his time. 

Once again, he smiled, then put his fists up as if to box me. I was floored!!  

Muhammad Ali was the greatest athlete of all time!