The great boxer and philanthropist Muhammad Alidied in June, and for the first time since his passing his wife, Lonnie, has decided to speak out.
During her first interview, which was with Matt Lauer on the Today show, Lonnie revealed Ali was troubled by recent events in world. He thought America was past a few things, but unfortunately, we, as a nation, weren’t.
“He was pretty distressed, especially [with] some of the things that were going on in the world,” Lonnie said. “He thought that we had crossed a line or crossed a barrier. He was a little disappointed with that. But you know, Muhammad was a man of eternal optimism. He always believed in the power of humanity. That’s what he touched in most people.“
Though the G.O.A.T. may be gone, Lonnie, who married the champ in 1986, wants to honor his legacy by carrying out one of his final wishes through the Ali 75 campaign.
The initiative asks people to volunteer for a total of 75 hours throughout the year starting on Jan. 17, 2017, which would’ve been Ali’s 75th birthday.
Lonnie strongly believes there’s a little bit of Ali in all of us.
“When I say ‘Ali is in all of us,’ I mean the humanity in all of us,” she said. “Because that’s what Muhammad always touched in people, was their humanity. Regardless, he could always see it. This was something I thought about for his birthday, prior to his passing, the Ali 75 to give 75 hours of service to others. Muhammad had this saying: ‘Service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on earth.’ He lived that everyday of his life. Everyday of his life, he believed that, and that’s the actual path he pursued.”