MUHAMMAD ALI

After his speech, I wrote to Muhammad Ali — urging him to run for office.

On January 18, 1979, the legendary Muhammad Ali was giving a speech at Murray State — in Racer Arena. I took the boys to see and hear him. He was great — bright, articulate, and funny. The place was packed and the applause was plentiful. We were very excited and very glad we went; we knew we were looking at history!

We were seated above the tunnel — where the Murray State team entered the arena for home basketball games. That is the route that Muhammad Ali used to enter the arena, and to leave after the speech.

I will always remember a big, tall Murray-State basketball player, #22. He was standing in the tunnel, after the speech — as the applause died down and people were leaving their seats. #22 took his jersey off, and held it out to The Greatest for an autograph. Muhammad Ali stopped, took the jersey, and signed it. Neither of them said anything. The basketball player was so overcome, he put his head down and sobbed.

The next day, I wrote a letter to Muhammad Ali. I thanked him for the wonderful speech and the wonderful night. I told him I thought that he should run for office.