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Despite the rough nature of his sport, Muhammad Ali was one of the smoothest persons ever to walk the Earth. His poetic verse and well- considered metaphors came out a time during the 1960s when boxers were better known for punching than speaking. But Muhammad Ali did speak, and spoke intelligently — in a loud, boisterous and uncompromising voice. In this way, Ali was the public epitome of the Black man who would not be denied and would not back down. Ali, in a way, made it okay to be that man. Barack Obama, and all Black men of his generation, inherited that legacy and that gift from Muhammad Ali.

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