Happy 70th birthday to Muhammad Ali, Simply 'The Greatest'

Muhammad Ali is 'The Greatest' and one of my lifelong heroes. The conviction and courage Muhammad Ali has shown throughout his life continues to inspire millions of people everywhere. Happy Birthday wishes pour in from around the world, a world that today is sorely lacking in giants like Muhammad Ali.

Ali was in his youth the greatest boxer of his time. He was the most popular and recognizable figure in the world back then. That alone would have earned him a special place in history but his spectacular athletic ability and his outspoken rhetoric were only a stepping stone to his true greatness. The excellant documentary 'When We Were Kings' will keep those times alive long into the future. "Ali-Boom-I-ay".

Ali rose above the rest in 1966 when he refused induction into the American military and became a role model of my generation. Then in 1967 the U.S. Department of Justice prosecuted Ali, denying his claim for conscientious objector status. He was found guilty of refusing to be inducted into the military. Ali said at his trial, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong... No Viet Cong ever called me nigger". Ali walked away from millions of dollars. Ali walked the walk, he chose jail over fortune or fame.

In 2005 Ali opened the Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. "I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given, I believed in myself and I believe in the goodness of others," said Ali. "Many fans wanted to build a museum to acknowledge my achievements. I wanted more than a building to house my memorabilia. I wanted a place that would inspire people to be the best that they could be at whatever they chose to do, and to encourage them to be respectful of one another."

His courage to stand up for his beliefs and values inspired millions of young Americans like myself to have the courage to resist the war machine and stand up against the Vietnam War. Many of us reasoned that if a fellow young man, especially a black man born into poverty and a culture of racial bigotry could have such courage so could we. For him to have shown me the way i will be forever greatful.

Today on his 70th birthday, ravaged by Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali still stands tall as a true hero, simply 'The Greatest'. Thank you Muhammad Ali for your courage..