Posted by: ajsssummer | July 23, 2013

Meeting Muhammad Ali: Two Perspectives, One Legend

By Ariel Bergman

After cooking lunch and serving food at the local soup kitchen, it seemed fitting to spend our afternoon at the Muhammad Ali Center, an exhibition dedicated to a man who only wanted goodness in the world.

As we toured the fourth and fifth levels of the center, we witnessed Mr. Ali’s hard work and dedication to two of the most important thing in his life: Boxing and equality. It was amazing to see one man so passionate and devoted. As we wound through the museum, we saw him fighting for victories; victories inside the ring, and victories for equal rights.

The most inspiring part of this visit was watching a clip of Muhammad Ali refusing to go into the army. “America has done nothing for me,” he said, “Why should I do anything for them?” He took a stand against what he believed was wrong and never faltered. Little did I know, a few moments later I would meet the man behind the legend, himself. I was in awe.

Muhammad Ali

By Sam Parven

Last year my dad took me to the MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City, KS. Before the game, he took me to the NLBM. It was there I saw Matt Kemp. It was incredible! Having that opportunity was a once in a lifetime moment, or so I thought.

My AJSS group and I took a trip to see the Muhammad Ali Center. Apparently, the woman at the front desk told Danny and Meredith (our project directors) to hurry the group up to the fifth level of the center, because they had a special visitor. Not knowing the reason for being herded up there, we were just sort of hanging around when all of a sudden Danny comes up to us and says, “Hey, look guys, it’s Muhammad Ali.” We turned, expecting to see a fit man walking around, confused when we couldn’t find him. Someone finally pointed out a man in a wheelchair being pushed around by his family. Seeing Mr. Ali in a wheelchair definitely took many of us by surprise. In fact, there was a lot of conflicting emotions as we met and took a group photo with him, waiting while a family member moved his hands into a posed position, with two fists in the air as if he were in a match.

Throughout this entire process, Muhammad Ali was silent, yet seemed to be aware of everything around him. And though his silence is caused by Parkinson’s, I found it inspiring. I don’t remember seeing him shake when I met him, he just seemed very calm. So I tried silence for a day, and I feel calmer and more aware than ever before; I even feel more in control over the symptoms caused by my own Tourette Syndrome.

Muhammad Ali is a…is MY hero.



  1. Sam, your words move me! What an incredible moment from which to draw strength for the rest of your life! I love you. How incredible.

  2. Great commentary and story.

    A true moment that will live with you forever and one to pass down for generations.

    I very much remember Cassius Clay in the Olympics…then Ali refusing the draft. Many hated him for this…I still admire him.

    He has been true to his beliefs and has inspired countless others.

    Mr Ali’s silence is louder and more powerful than one can imagine.

    Sam Marcus – member of the board of directors of AJSS.

  3. Sam. You are an incredible young man and an incredible grandson. What you wrote was truly beautiful. Corinne Shane

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