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Bacon: Michigan was home during Muhammad Ali's "greatest chapter"

Jun 6, 2016

With the passing of Muhammad Ali, there has been no shortage of praise that has been heaped upon the boxing legend, who to many, was more than just a fighter. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says while his list of accomplishments in and out of the ring was worthy of admiration, it was how he lived his life in his later years that deserves the most credit. 

"I thought his greatest chapter of his very long and complicated life was his last," said Bacon. "When he got Parkinson's [Disease] ... and he refused to hide. And as Normal Mailer said, a lot of us would have shut ourselves down. He was a very vain man in many ways, and very proud. He got out in the world. He did not hide. One thing he said to Davis Miller, a great writer, he said 'I know why God is doing this to me. To let you know and let me know, that I'm a man like everyone else.' And that is a man with unusual self-awareness."

Ali grew up in Louisville, Kentucky but has a Michigan connection. The three-time heavyweight champion of the world lived in Berrien Springs, a small Southwest Michigan town, for more than two decades after his boxing career was over. 

Listen to the full interview with John U. Bacon as he talks more about Ali, the University of Michigan softball team at the College World Series, the Red Wings' impact on the history of the Stanley Cup and which Detroit team will be the next to win a championship.

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John U. Bacon is Michigan Radio's sports commentator