Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.; January 17, 1942)
Ali revolutionized the sport of boxing by sheer power and magnetism of his personality.
(not to mention his speed and power) At a time when most fighters let their managers do the talking, Ali thrived in — and indeed craved — the spotlight, where he was sometimes provocative, frequently outlandish and almost always entertaining.
He controlled most press conferences and interviews, and spoke freely about issues unrelated to boxing. He transformed the role and image of the African American athlete in America by his embrace of racial pride and his willingness to antagonize the white establishment in doing so. In the words of writer Joyce Carol Oates, "he was one of the few athletes in any sport to completely define the terms of his public reputation."