Muhammad Ali Quotes -OR- Cassius Clay's megalomania
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MUHAMMAD ALI IS ONE OF THE most outspoken and famous racists of all time ("The white man of America is the devil… No good in him, no justice. He's gonna be destroyed. His rule is over. He is _THE_ devil.. We don't believe that, we KNOW it!"). Muhammad Ali is definitely the greatest racist to ever box.
Ali's hate against whites (and against mixing of races) has been the topic at Muhammad Ali – The most famous racist to ever box -OR- Criticizing Ali is racism thus in this article here I want to concentrate on a theory whether there is an even darker side of Ali than his racism.
Does Muhammad Ali suffer from the Messiah-Complex and the God-Complex?
Aside from being an outspoken racist he seems to suffer from an illness called "Messiah complex" which consists of heightening himself by divine attributes or presenting himself as some kind of savior:
"A messiah complex is a state of mind in which the individual believes he/she is, or is destined to become, a savior."
"A god complex is a term generally used to describe an individual who consistently believes they can accomplish more than is humanly possible or that their opinion is automatically above those they may disagree with."
Ali's self-proclaimed glorification "I am the greatest of all time" is probably the most famous of Ali's "grandiosities" but there are others, sometimes including devaluations of others:
"My thinking is so superior, my knowledge is so positive and my logic is so wise until it clashes with the mentality which is down here and I am up there [Ali holds one hand low the other high]. By me being so high I can see more and farther than you… I don't think like you. I am not like you."
"I am not only the champion of the whole world but better than those before me"
"Aaaa'm so great! Aaaa'm so great! Oh, I am so pretty I shook up the world"
"I know how to talk to a man like you who has less intelligence than myself"
"You are not as dumb as you look" (calling someone "ugly" or "dumb" is one of Ali's favorite insults)
"If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you."
"Cassius Clay, the most beautiful fighter in the world today"
"I'm the most recognized and loved man that ever lived coz there weren't no satellites when Jesus and Moses were around."
"I now mention my greatness only five times a day" (allusion to Muslims praying 5 times every day)
"What's my name, Uncle Tom?… I am representing black people, and you are not" (insulting ·Ernie Terrell during their fight)
"My only fault is I don't realize how great I really am"
"I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world."
"You can go to Japan, China, all the European, African, Arab, and South American countries, and man, they know me. I can't name a nation where they don't know me."
"I want everyone to bear witness, I am the greatest! I'm the greatest thing that ever lived. I don't have a mark on my face"
"People don't realize what they had till it's gone…. I was the Elvis of boxing.''
"I am the savior of boxing. You're looking at history's greatest fighter. There will never be another like me."
"I shall retuuuuurn"
"I have to lead the way. God has made me bigger than all of the entertainers in America. God has made me bigger than all of the entertainers in the world. God has made me bigger than all athletes in the world."
"The world’s champ should be pretty like me!"
"When I quit boxing the game died… Tyson came along… He's good but he's no Muhammad Ali" (Wow, not only heavyweight died but the whole sport of boxing.)
"People recognize me for being a boxer and a man of truth."
"You have heard of me since you were young. You have been following me since you were a little boy. Now, you must meet me, your master.”
"You know, you are in the ring with the God" (to Joe Frazier just before the fight)
And indeed Ali by his own admission has godly superpowers. Although he can not walk on water like Jesus he has the ability to "float like a butterfly". Let's look at some of his other omnipotence fantasies:
"If Ali says a mosquito can pull a plow, don't ask how. Hitch him up."
"I'm so fast I run through a hurricane and not get wet."
"His hands can't hit what his eyes can't see." (about his speed in the ring)
"I'm too fast to be hit by a bullet"
"That was my anchor punch. It's lethal."
"I'm gonna beat George Foreman and you're gonna beat cancer" (to a cancer patient)
"Superman don't need no seat belt. " (To a flight attendant)
"I'm always giving the praise to God. So that's why I am as great as I am in this physical world."
"No one wins all the time, though I am an exception"
"Let me cancel this wind [Ali makes gestures while looking up to the windy sky] I think I can stop it."
"I can kill a dead tree. Don't mess with Muhammad Ali."
"Only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick, I’m so mean I make medicine sick."
"I'm so fast that, last night, I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark."
"I've handcuffed lightning and thrown thunder in jail."
Sportswriter Mickey Herskowitz:
"We once sat next to Ali on a flight from Chicago to Houston, and he confided that he had no fear of flying because Allah would not allow him to die in a plane crash."
Even when he talked about his opponents he made some religious references:
"If god ever calls me to a holy war, I want Joe Frazier fighting beside me", and the fight against Foreman "will be a divine fight, a holy war… Armageddon on a miniature scale" which of course implies that Foreman is the evil, while Ali is god himself (or at least god's right hand).
Some quotes are not immediately recognizable as a hint at Ali's mental state: Take for example:
"Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I just beat people up."
Now, if you don't know that approximately 50% of Ali's quotes resemble omnipotent fantasies and megalomaniac confabulations, you might think it's a funny quote. But once you see the thread running through Ali's statements you'll notice that even in this harmless looking quote Ali sees himself as fulfilling some kind of higher principle, just as Allah created grass to grow and waves to pound Ali fulfills what Allah wants.
"I know where I'm going and I know the truth", "I talk to God everyday. I know the real God. I shook up the world, I'm the king of the world. You must listen to me!"
Muhammad Ali's Megalomania Syndrome
We have to suspect that Ali's racism has to be seen as part of a bigger picture: I have the hypothesis that he suffers from what I call "Megalomania Syndrome" and which
manifests as megalomania ("I am the greatest")
then as elitism (e.g. racism "Whites are devils")
then as the obsession to change the territory ("need to have our own country", "America is doomed")
and then finally as the Parkinson illness
Please note that also the Pope John Paul II, Billy Graham, Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong possibly also suffered from this sad illness. Now elitism has different forms and it develops in some people as racism (e.g black vs white) and in some people as religiosity (good vs evil). In some as both.
Let me clarify that I disagree with Joe Frazier's assessment:
"I'm sorry that he is the way he is, but I didn't have too much to do with it. It was the good man above." [= god]
Frazier believes that Ali's arrogant boasts of "I am the greatest!" were "a slap in the Lord's face."
I disagree with Frazier because I think that Ali's megalomania is not the personality trait that _LED_ to the brain disease (as god's punishment) but I believe that the megalomania ("I am the greatest", "I am America", "It's hard to be humble, when you're as great as I am") _IS ALREADY_ the brain disease (or rather part of the disease).
Now it's interesting to read what Ali himself has to say about Frazier's "God-caused-Parkinson's"-theory:
"Parkinson's is my toughest fight…. I'm being tested… All great people are tested by God."
Aside from the fact that he simply cannot let go of his megalomania and condescension ("all great people") it's interesting that Ali himself thinks, too, that his Parkinson's is indeed sent by god (and thereby confirming Joe Frazier's assessment). And maybe he even thinks that Allah INDEED (as Frazier claims) punished him for shouting "I am the greatest" since Ali (after he got Parkinson's) subduedly relativises his statement to "Allah is the greatest. I'm just the greatest boxer." Very interesting (but still unbelievably megalomaniac since he seriously claims he is a greater boxer than any other boxer (e.g. :Sugar Ray Robinson:)).
I wish we could find out whether Ali has another theory that would explain why of all illnesses Allah sent him a disease that ultimately stops him from talking as his wife explains:
"No matter what God gives you, you have to stand up to this test. There's a reason. There's a reason that the Parkinson's has affected his voice. It doesn't affect everybody's voice who gets Parkinson's. Maybe it was to sort of quiet him down"
Lonnie Ali (formerly Yolanda Williams), Ali's wife (they met when she was 6 years old)
However this is a rather philosophical question and not exactly ontopic, thus let me get back by expressing my hope that science finds a cure. Because as it stands now Ali's life consists of drooling out of his mouth and doing the snoring joke (= he pretends to fall asleep and starts to snore and then "booh!" surprises us with "Haha, I fooled you!") which makes me really sad and reminds us what a terrible disease Parkinson's is. And just because he has to wear diapers now it's simply wrong to make fun of him ("Bloat like a bow-fly and stink like pee").
On a sidenote: Allah had not only tests for Ali but also rewards: He blessed Ali with 7 (seven!) daughters and a son.
"I know the real God! You must listen to me!"
OK, let's check out whether Ali is really a divine god talker. Here are some snippets of his universal wisdom:
"The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life."
Sure, Ali, but why couldn't you wait until you are 50 yourself instead of merely 33?
"Love is a net that catches hearts like a fish"
Hmm, what? Maybe it will become clearer to me when I, too, am married for the 4th time.
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth"
"Death is the tax the soul has to pay for having a name and a form"
"Old age is just a record of one's whole life."
Either that's obvious or complete nonsense.
"All black people! Get to your nearest Muslim mosque as soon as possible because god Allah says the time is short for the white man's rule. America is under divine chastism. There's gonna be earthquakes, even right here in this city, buildings are gonna go underground, there's gonna be all kinds of plagues and tornadoes and droughts. That's why so many white women are sent out into black neighborhoods, that's why immigration has been pushed so. Destruction is coming on America… God's gonna destroy America… The planet earth belongs to the black man… Hell is coming."
Doom, Gloom and Clay.
And, verily, verily, I say unto thee,
"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life"
Muhammad Ali's fruitcake speech
Here is a little longer piece, what I call "Ali's Fruitcake Speech":
"After touring the world I found out that there are 600 million Muslims on the planet…
What Jesus taught was good… What Krishna taught was right…
All of gods prophets are right, you got to believe in all of them… So, if the persons follow Buddha and do what Buddha said they'll see god…
So I chose to follow the Islamic faith because I never saw so much love, so many people hugging each other, kissing each other, praying five times a day, the women in the long garment, the way they would eat…
I saw Jesus Christ: I saw a white man with blond hair and blue eyes… Mary was white… Tarzan, the king of the jungle, was white. The angel fruitcake was white and the devil fruit cake was chocolate…
The only thing that made me feel good, the only thing that made me feel free, that connected me with Saudi-Arabia: The Islamic religion.
It connected me with Pakistan, Marocco, Syria, I sat down with Colonel Gaddafi, had dinner in his palace, stayed over night, because of a Muslim. As a Christian I never could sit with Christian leaders. As a Muslim I set with El Sadat, I sat with president Nasser, Marcos of the Philippines, Ayub Khan of Pakistan before he died, I've been sitting with kings Sheikh Saeed of Abu Dhabi. Kings and people of these nations are welcoming me as a brother and I am a citizen and not an American…
See, the name Mohammed is the most common name in the world. There are more Mohammeds on the planet… For me, being a world figure, taking the name Muhammad Ali, which is the name from my people for their brother in America, and accepting the Islamic religion it was better for _ME_. While for another person Shintoism, Voodoism, Christianity, Bapstist, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish: That might fit another man…
Don't you think I preach pretty good? Don't I make it plain? Don't you understand now? You asked me some pretty tough questions but didn't I make a lot of sense?"
That must be some of the weirdest piece of kindergarten pseudo-philosophy I read for a while. It neatly sums up as
Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Manitu,Voodoo, Yahoo are all telling the truth. Choose whatever religion. It's the same anyway
Buddhists will see God if they do what Buddha told (except that there is no god in Buddhism)
Clay chose Islam because women wear long clothes, there's a lot of hugging going on and he likes the way they eat
Mentioning Tarzan and fruitcakes will surely validate his reasoning for becoming a Muslim. In another interview he mentions how white Tarzan, the White House and white toothpaste weighed heavy on his "black soul", so he bacame a Muslim.
As a Christian no king invited him. As a Muslim he slept in Gaddafi's palace.
Since he has the most common name of the world ("Muhammad", "Mehmet", "Mahmut" etc) he feels like being part of a group.
He gives only racist reasons ("Mary is white") and egoistic reasons ("sitting with Sheiks") for his conversion to Islam and he doesn't give any reasons based on CONTENT (= what is written in the Koran). And actually if you trust him there are no relevant content reasons, because all religions say the same anyway.
And please notice how the megalomania IMMEDIATELY sets in after Ali manages to not talk about his own greatness for a few minutes.
Muhammad Ali is the greatest troll of all times
When you search for Ali's quotes you will find that
approximately 50% of Ali's quotes are megalomaniac (as I already mentioned above)
and nearly all of the rest are
or otherwise worthless
Ali's lack of education (he was bottom of his class and couldn't read books because of dyslexia) and his low IQ (he scored 78 on the army's IQ test) shine through ("I am the greatest not the smartest", Ali's lame excuse after the IQ test result came out).
Wikipedia defines "troll" correctly as
A troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages with the primary intent of provoking an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
Ali's answers basically never contribute to any valid discussion about his career or about his achievements, instead imagine yourself answering in the following way in an online forum:
What do you think about the current state of boxing?
"Boxing died when I left"
How would you rank your performance against boxer XYZ?
"I am the Greatest"
But your opponent knocked you down!
"I am the Greatest. As the Greatest I am not supposed to be knocked down. Thus I retuuuurned."
Is there anything you should have done better in your career?
"My only mistake was to not emphasize enough how great I am"
I really liked your walk-in!
"You are not as dumb as you look"
This _is_ worthless TROLLING.
You can hardly filter out any substantial information from Ali's interviews. It's all variations of the same repetition.
Muhammad Ali is the biggest troll to ever box!
Ali's megalomania & other boxers' trashtalk
Now, you might claim that a lot of boxers "talk crazy stuff" but I challenge you to find me 1 other example of a boxer who would dwell in such messiah fantasies while at the same time trashtalking on the level of a 5-year-old ("Joe Frazier is so ugly that when he cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head", "Liston even smells like a bear. I'm gonna give him to the local zoo after I whoop him").
Sure, from time to time you hear boxers say something like "I'm not God – but I am something similar" (·Roberto Duran) (which is actually a cool quote) but that's far away from Ali's in-your-face-megalomania.
But "Wait!" I hear some Ali-fans say, "Ali isn't megalomaniac because he really _IS_ the greatest!"
Well, fans say what fans say. It's irrelevant. Political and religious leaders have also a lot of followers who would claim similar superiorities of their master. And as faithful believers Ali's fans, too, produce nonstop superiorities like
"Ali TRANSCENDED BOXING. He EPITOMIZED COURAGE. This isnt about technique. He MADE HISTORY! Hes the WORLDS HERO. There's never been anyone like him. You're thinking too small."
"even God was amazed at how gifted He made Ali!!!!!"
"Just think of what kind of president Muhammad Ali? …How intelligent, honest, peaceful, un-material, god-loving and so much more of a man he is."
"f*ck off you mother f*cker you are a f*cking retard motgher f*cker. muhammad ali would kill bruce lee sh*t… his kicks cant do nothing. ali wopuld punsh him and kill him u mother f*cker f*cknig loser"
(original quote by a user whose name starts with "IslamIsTheTruth")
"the prophets couldnt hold ali's balls"
"i would kill for him…."
"F*ck you you f*cking c*nt you deserve to die, he is the greatest and beyond that, he was a great man who started a revolution, I cincerly hope you get run over, and have your body chrsihed but still stay alive to feel some pain you peace of ****!!!!!!!!!!"
"The man was supernatural… If ever the world needed a role model then this man should be it. He had it all and then some. In the next life I'm coming back as Mohammed Ali"
"Muhammad Ali becomes a God at this moment" (when KO'ing his opponent)
Megalomaniacs _DO_ attract believers and judging by how viciously Ali-fans react to criticism and hate modern boxers Ali _DOES_ attract the same kind of fanatics that you would expect around megalomaniac personalities.
"But Muhammad Ali was only joking"
No, he SAID he was joking. Big difference.
His constant messiah fantasies, talks about the end of the world and invalidation of others weigh more than some tiny "sorry"
"You're not as dumb as you look…. I'm just joking"
(Ali on a TV show).
It's as if some hardrock musician would state "Actually I don't like hardrock" but still would go on a world tour. Such excuses are negligible.
Cassius Clay's obsessions and the beginnings
First of all let me remind everyone again that Ali is not "the greatest" but "The Greatest" (note the spelling). It's just a stage name.
But EVEN IF he would be the greatest boxer of all time: His fixation on it is not normal.
Can you imagine Wladimir "The Steelhammer" Klitschko constantly announcing "I am the steelhammer. I told you! I am THE steelhammer. There is no other steelhammer" or Mike Tyson constantly shouting "I am iron! I am iron! I am too hard for ANYONE!" or George Foreman constantly bragging "I am BIG George. Ain't no one big but me! I am big, I am double-big. Evander Holyfield is too ugly to be the champ!" at every possibility and in every interview since 50 years? Ali now has Parkinson's and can hardly talk, but he never fails to use his scarce breath to repeat this broken record, even when he talks with Will Smith about the 911 terroristic attacks. He simply HAS THE IRRESISTIBLE URGE to tell that he is the greatest of all time.
Ali actually admits that it all started by copying the role from [External link, opens in new window...] Gorgeous George" (a wrestler):
"So I got this from Gorgeous George. I said 'Hmm, this is a good idea. Look, he's gettin' rich.' So I started talking 'I am the greatest! I can not be beat! I'm too pretty to be a fighter'…"
It seems that Ali's megalomania made him steal Gorgeous George's bragging and then with every repetition it intensified the self-hypnosis (= the lie that is repeated often enough) which then finally culminated in the Megalomania Syndrome: "I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was" –> "I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest" –> "It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief" (all original quotes by Clay/Ali).
Ali is the double-greatest
OK, let us end our excursion into the brain of this (let's call him) "special" sportsman by another quote: If Ali indeed suffered from the Megalomania Syndrome AND the Messiah-Complex, then in a sad way this quote becomes true:
"Not only am I the greatest. I am the double-greatest."
And I know I use this quote out of context. The full quote is "I'm not the greatest. I'm the double greatest. Not only do I knock 'em out, I pick the round." Ali said this to remind us that he MYTHICALLY PREDICTS the outcome of his fights.
In reality this might have been just a red herring to divert from the growing speculations (there was even an official investigation) that he pays his opponents to take a dive ("cash us clay"), thus he OF COURSE would know the result beforehand. An example would be "round eight to prove I’m great!" and, voila, Sonny Liston quits mysteriously for the 7th round citing a… bad shoulder. Whatever the truth may be, I used this quote completely out of context but I found it too "fitting in a strange way" to be ignored.
The support for Muhammad Ali shrinks at a breathtaking pace. Just go to YouTube and search for Muhammad Ali video clips. The amount of ridicule and of criticism is enormous and growing.
His supporters are more and more limited to his fanbase core: Blacks, Americans, Muslims. Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic Fire (1996) was of course a stunt only possible in the USA (Summer Olympics in Atlanta).
A few years ago there was absolutely no doubt that Ali belongs at position #1 on every boxing toplist you could imagine. Now he has lost a lot of support and the demands for a re-evaluation of his fights grows, especially since we live in video-heavy times and Ali simply doesn't have enough meaningful knockouts (or otherwise impressive performances) to consolidate his legacy.
Too many people simply started to realize that he was a limited boxer with bad performances, disgusting ring behavior ("Clay as Clay can"), a questionable chin, doubtful opponents (nearly all of Ali's heavyweight championships are against doubtful opponents) and gift decisions. And too many people realize that he was a deeply troubled racist and they shouldn't be fooled by his showman-smile and funky stage name "The Greatest".
You CAN admire Ali for his showmanship. But never forget that he used his showmanship to sugarcoat his racism, UFO religion and megalomania.
Megalomania attracts (a certain kind of) followers who are impressed by megalomaniac statements.
Ali struck a nerve with some people for whom funny descriptions ("sting like a bee") are more important than facts. And for whom stage names ("The Greatest") are too powerful to resist.
No matter how mentally troubled someone is and no matter how mentally challenged someone is (Ali's IQ 78 is classified as "borderline retardation") you can always have fans.
If you think that "Yeah, OK, whatever he said, but look how he suffers now, poor shaking Ali" then somebody else's brain disease has power to put you in a state of denial and milk your goodwill.
If you think that "Yeah, OK, he was a bit of racist here and there but he delivered it with a nice smile and a lot of humor" then you have been manipulated by a manipulator.
If you are a boxer and think "Despite everything you write on this page, Ali is still my idol, because he got famous by boxing" then you are 20% right and 80% wrong, because Ali got famous by the special circumstances of the 1960s and 1970s.