My popular heroes were evolving with the times. Musically, it was Bob Dylan, sports Muhammad Ali, and cinema Woody Allen. All had many things in common. They primarily exhibited and reflected the absurdity of contemporary America in humorous, creative and poetic ways, with underlying political overtones. All of them rebelled against social expectations and peer pressure confinements. Each broke the mold of the existing status quo of their respective expressive art form and created new paradigms that changed their chosen modalities.
A memorable event illuminated the UWM scene when Muhammad Ali arrived as a guest speaker to the student body. Ali had been banned from boxing at the time and was doing the college circuit to generate income and raise the level of awareness of being a principled Black Muslim in a racist society.
I deeply admired Muhammad Ali, both as an athlete-boxer and a humanitarian. He exuded life and love. I hadn’t been so enamored by an athlete since my childhood days of worshiping Mickey Mantle. Ali was brash, loud, poetic, riotously funny and an extremely gifted athlete. He brought personality and originality to the sordid and dull boxing sport.