Research Finds A Direct Correlation Between The Boxing Legends Fights And His Diminished Speaking Ability At The End Of His Boxing Career
Muhammad Ali slips to the canvas during the 14th round of his title fight with Earnie Shavers in New York in 1977.
While best known for his boxing talent, Muhammad Ali was also one of the greatest talkers of all time.
At a time when it was dangerous for black men to sass white people, Ali did just that. He spoke up and spoke back, using his tremendous wit and intelligence to challenge authority and undercut notions of what a black person in America could say and do. He earned his first nickname, “The Louisville Lip,” in tribute to his verbal gifts.
Sadly, however, Ali’s voice faded—literally and much too soon.
According to a new biography of the boxer and a study released Wednesday by speech scientists at Arizona State University, Ali’s articulation started to become less precise in the mid-1970s, when he was between 30 and 35 years old, almost certainly as a result of blows to the head suffered in the ring. The study suggests that changes in the quality of speech can be important early markers of neurological damage or disease. Ali died in June 2016 at the age of 74.
In Fight Against Parkinson’s Muhammad Ali Became The Face Of The Debilitating Disease
Muhammad Ali fought bloody wars against a slew of boxing greats. But his toughest fight took place outside the ring against an opponent that couldn’t be knocked out.
For three decades, Ali waged a public battle against Parkinson’s disease — making brave appearances long after the degenerative disorder withered his body and stole his speech.
“Selflessness and bravery — those are the two things he epitomized,” said Leslie Chambers, president and CEO of the American Parkinson Disease Association.
In facing the cameras again and again, Ali played a crucial role in raising awareness of the incurable neurological disease.
“He brought the average American’s attention to this disease,” Chambers said. “We’re so grateful for him. In the long run, he’s helped our community in a tremendous way.”
Ali was just 42 years old when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984, three years after the last fight of his legendary career. The disease ravages the body over time in a slow, savage march.
People close to Ali noticed that his speech was already starting to slur and his body already starting to slow before his last bout in 1981.
Ten years later, he appeared a shell of his former self in an interview with Bryant Gumbel on NBC’s “Today Show.”
Gone was the mega-watt smile — Ali’s face appeared frozen.
Gone were the witty one-liners — the loquacious former champion’s words were so slurred Gumbel strained to understand them.
But he still displayed the heart of a champion.
Muhammad Ali Willingly Ignored His Doctors Stern Warning About His Declining Health
As Muhammad Ali progressed through the latter portion of his career, there developed evident telling signs of his declining health.
These health issues were outlined in Jonathan Eig’s “Ali: A Life,” as Ali’s ring doctor Ferdie Pacheco told him in the mid-1970s that he was already showing permanent brain damage.
He insisted that Ali’s “reflexes were only 25 to 30 percent of what they should be,” but the champ waved off him. “He didn’t see that,” Pachecho said. “He didn’t think he was brain damaged. He didn’t remember things. He was stuttering and stammering…I couldn’t stop him. I tried.”
Ali was a headstrong boxer that wanted to continue fighting as long as he could. However, his declining health led the Madison Square Garden in 1977 to state it would no longer hold fights for him due to the concerns regarding his health.
He chose to fight four more years with six fights over that span, losing three out of his final four bouts. His decision to continue boxing had a lasting impact on his health, contributing to his problems in the many years following his career.
The Study Examined Ali’s Speech Patterns Particularly Those After Big Fights
Muhammad Ali battled Parkinson’s disease his entire post-boxing life. A new study, however, shows that Ali’s bout with Parkinson’s started well before he was diagnosed with it. Jonathan Eig, who wrote Ali’s biography “Ali: A Life” , conducted a study on Ali’s speech patterns to determine when his Parkinson’s may have first manifested. A copy of Eig’s study, which will be presented at Stockholm’s Interspeech 2017, was picked up by ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
The study found that Ali’s speech slowed by 16 percent after a 15-round bout with Ernie Shavers in 1977. Shavers, a brawler, landed 266 punches throughout the fight. Ali’s speech normalized over time, but Eig’s study, conducted by Arizona State speech scientists Visar Berisha and Julie Liss through CompuBox, Inc., found a downward trend in Ali’s speech in the waning years of his career. His speech slowed by 26 percent between the ages of 26 and 39.
The study also found that Ali was slurring his speech in 1978. Ali retired in 1981 and was diagnosed in 1984. Their study sought out to show that speech patterns can be used to trace early signs of Parkinson’s. Those involved in the study would like to start using speech patterns to track those at risk of head trauma.
“It’s very practical and would be another important step allowing a year-by-year look at brain function,” Eig told ESPN.
Eig added on about the dangers of fighting into later years.
Muhammad Alis Speech Started Slurring Years Before Parkinsons Diagnosis
Muhammad Ali was a famous—and poetic—trash-talker. But several years before the boxing legend was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 42, his speech began to slow and slur, according to a new study reported on by ESPN. In the research presented today at the Interspeech 2017 conference, speech scientists analyzing archival footage found that from the age of 26 to 39, Ali’s rate of speech—measured in syllables per second—slowed by 26%, and that he was slurring words a full 3 years before diagnosis. Such symptoms in patients with full-blown Parkinson’s are well-known, but the researchers say Ali’s case shows the need for more long-term speech studies of people at risk of the neurodegenerative disorder.
Linda Ronstadt Ozzy Osbourne And Muhammad Ali Are Just Some Of The Well
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition caused by the loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain, which leads to various neurological and mobility-related symptoms. The Parkinson’s Foundation estimates the number of people living with Parkinson’s at 1 million in the United States alone, with over 10 million cases worldwide.
In January 2020, Ozzy Osbourne became the latest public figure to announce a Parkinson’s diagnosis, helping to raise the profile of this little-understood neurological condition. Read on to learn more about how other celebrities living with Parkinson’s disease have managed their condition and the work they’ve done to raise awareness.
The Facts About Parkinson’s The Disease Muhammad Ali Fought For Decades Health.com
Muhammad Ali may be most famous person ever to have had Parkinson’s Disease, but it’s by no means a rare condition.
An estimated 4 to 6 million people around the world suffer from Parkinson’s, 1 million of them in the United States. What’s more, experts say that number is likely to rise as the population ages.
In fact, getting older is probably the most common risk factor, says Britt Stone, MD, a movement disorders neurologist at Baylor Scott & White Health in Round Rock, Texas.
Most Parkinson’s cases strike after age 60, but 15% of cases are in people under 50, and 10% are in people younger than 40, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. This is called young onset Parkinson’s; it’s the diagnosis that actor Michael J. Fox received when barely 30 years old. Muhammad Ali was diagnosed in his early 40s, marking his case a relatively unusual one as well.
RELATED: Michael J. Fox discusses Muhammad Ali’s impact on Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s also affects men slightly more than women, but otherwise is mostly an equal opportunity disease, affecting a range of races and ethnicities, as well as people in different regions and with different incomes.
Biologically, Parkinson’s happens when the neurons that produce dopamine start to die. “Dopamine is a really important chemical for lots of things—mood, ability to move in an organized and predictable fashion,” says Dr. Stone.
Neil Diamond: Stepping Away From Touring Because Of Parkinsons
Singer Neil Diamond announced on January 22, 2018, that he was retiring from touring because of a recent Parkinson’s diagnosis. The news came during his 50th anniversary tour, as Diamond announced he would have to cancel upcoming concert dates in Australia and New Zealand. In a statement on his official website, he said, “It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years.”
Diamond reassured fans that he would continue writing and recording music, but he would not perform in front of live audiences in the future. His hits over the years have included “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Song Sung Blue,” and “Red, Red Wine.”
Diamond was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Grammy Awards.
Doctor Who Diagnosed Muhammad Ali With Parkinson’s Speaks Out
June 10, 2016 / 6:56 PM / CBS News
It was a thing of beauty: the Ali shuffle, a blur of movement that befuddled opponents and delighted fans. Years later, it morphed into a shuffling gait — a classic sign of Parkinson’s.
And the “Louisville lip” gave way to silence.
Dr. Stanley Fahn, a neurologist specializing in Parkinson’s, was the first doctor to diagnose his condition. It was 1984.
“It was a slowness of movement that was his limiting factor at that time,” Fahn told CBS News. “I saw immediately he had a masked face, that is, decreased expression. He had decreased blinking, and he had a typical Parkinson’s tremor.”
Parkinson’s is most common in older adults. Ali was only 42.
Linda Ronstadt: Parkinson’s Took Her Voice But Not Her Spirit
Known for her rich soprano vocals as the lead singer of the 1960s band the Stone Poneys, Linda Ronstadt opened up about her Parkinson’s disease diagnosis to AARP The Magazine in 2013. After two very bad tick bites in the 1980s, Ronstadt says her health never fully recovered — but she didn’t visit a neurologist until she was no longer able to sing.
“I didn’t know why I couldn’t sing — all I knew was that it was muscular or mechanical. Then when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I was finally given the reason. I now understand that no one can sing with Parkinson’s disease. No matter how hard you try. And in my case, I can’t sing a note,” she told AARP.
Muhammad Alis Greatest Fight Was Against Parkinsons Disease
Throughout his remarkable life, boxing legend Muhammad Ali strongly defended black dignity, the anti-war movement and his own athletic prowess with his bold, boastful and fast-talking charm.
But in the last chapters of his life, when Parkinson’s disease began to slowly conquer more and more of his powerful body, it was Ali’s mere physical presence that spoke volumes about his final cause: awareness, research and advocacy for Parkinson’s disease, a condition that directly affects about one million Americans every year.
His most public stand for Parkinson’s disease awareness was during the 1996 Olympic Games’ opening ceremony in Atlanta, when he held the Olympic flame aloft and lit the Olympic cauldron, despite his badly shaking arms. But behind the scenes, Ali and his wife, Lonnie, immersed themselves in a life of philanthropy, advocating for Parkinson’s disease patients and their caregivers in addition to doing humanitarian work with the United Nations and other organizations.
Muhammad Ali : Parkinsons And A Courageous Life Journey
“Don’t count the days; make the days count.” Muhammad Ali
“God will not place a burden on a man’s shoulders knowing that he cannot carry it.” Muhammad Ali
Brief Biography: On June 3, 2016, Muhammad Ali passed away due to respiratory complications from his advanced Parkinson’s Disease. He was born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1942. Muhammad Ali first became an Olympic gold medalist for boxing in 1960; next, the world heavyweight-boxing champion in 1964. Following his suspension for refusing the military draft to Vietnam, in the 1970’s, Ali reclaimed the heavyweight boxing title two more times.
Life with Parkinson’s: Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s in 1984; he was 42 years old. Following the diagnosis, Ali devoted much of his time to philanthropy. In 1997, Ali lent his name and helped to establish The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center . For all of his service to help others, Muhammad Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
A Courageous Life: As a boxer, Muhammad Ali was both inspiring and controversial. Muhammad Ali was possibly the most significant heavyweight boxing champion.
Most notably, I will always admire, respect and remember the grace and courage in which Muhammad Ali lived out his life with Parkinson’s . Ali’s brave actions in front of the world in the presence of his disorder were most memorable. His >30 years of life with Parkinson’s was a journey filled with hope and in service to others.
People With Parkinsons Disease Found A Champion In Ali
To the patients at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona, which Ali helped establish and fund, he was more than just a boxing champion or a cultural icon. Ali was the face of their own struggle against the disease, which has no known cure. In the video below, patients described how Ali’s example inspired them to continue pressing on with therapy and their own self-care in the midst of an ever-progressing disease.
“He’s such a fighter — not just in the ring but in his life,” said one woman in the video. “It’s an inspiration to us all.”
“I had no idea how much of a difference Muhammad Ali would make in my life,” a man added. “Now that I have Parkinson’s disease, his generosity has been a blessing for me, personally.”
The Alis also joined forces with Michael J. Fox, another celebrity with Parkinson’s disease, to raise money and appear before Congress in 2002 to advocate for research funding. In her testimony before lawmakers, Lonnie Ali spoke on behalf of her husband when she called the disease the fight of his life.
“Parkinson’s recognizes no titles, respects no achievements, nor bows to any amount of talent, courage or character. Parkinson’s does not discriminate,” she said. “There is no question that Parkinson’s is the fight of Muhammad’s life.”
Muhammad Ali’s Long Struggle With Parkinson’s Disease
June 5, 2016 / 9:45 PM / CBS/AP
Muhammad Ali is being remembered not just for his legendary boxing career and his inspiring public persona, but also for the dignity and grace with which he battled Parkinson’s disease over the last three decades of his life.
He was first diagnosed with the degenerative disease in the 1984, three years after he retired from boxing.
Repeated blows to the head during his time in the ring are believed to have led to his later health problems. Ali’s physician, Dr. Dennis Cope, spoke about his condition in a “60 Minutes” interview in 1996.
” has had a development of what’s called Parkinson’s syndrome. And from our testing on him, our conclusion has been that that has been due to pugilistic brain syndrome resulting from boxing,” Cope told CBS News’ Ed Bradley.
“All of our testing has indicated that his cognitive function, his ability to think clearly, to understand what’s going on, to really analyze situations hasn’t deteriorated at all,” Cope added. “His mind is fine.”
But the disease took a visible toll on his body. Ali developed a tremor and speech became increasingly difficult.
When he lit the Olympic flame at the start of the 1996 summer games in Atlanta, his hand shook as he held the torch high.
Head Trauma May Have Contributed To Ali’s Parkinson’s
Muhammad Ali died Friday with the Parkinson’s disease that helped define his life for the last 32 years.
Boxing may have contributed to his illness, but genetics was likely a bigger factor, experts said. “It’s bad luck on top of genetics,” said Ole Isacson, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School who met Ali several times. People who lose consciousness through head trauma are at 50% higher risk of Parkinson’s than those who don’t, he said.
Ali’s symptoms and the course of his disease were also consistent with a genetic form of Parkinson’s, said Michael Okun, chairman of neurology at the University of Florida, who was a longtime Ali friend and adviser. About 10% of cases are believed to be caused directly by genetics.
Like people with the inherited form of the disease, Ali’s Parkinson’s arrived early, struck mainly on one side and responded well to the best drug treatment for the disease, Levodopa.
Ali was diagnosed in 1984, three years after he retired, but Okun said his neurological problems were evident in his later fights. In some ways, Okun said, it was good that Ali was forced to retire early. If he’d continued to fight, he might have done more damage to his brain.
Isacson said there is also reason to believe that repeated hits to the head might contribute to Parkinson’s.
Did Head Trauma Give Muhammad Ali Parkinsons Disease
Experts debate whether head injuries the boxing legend sustained could have caused his Parkinson’s disease.
It has been widely argued that the multiple head injuries Muhammad Ali sustained during his boxing career could have caused his Parkinson’s disease. In reality, the science behind it is much more nuanced.
Experts’ theories vary on whether head trauma is linked to the disease.
In short, Parkinson’s kills off the neurons in the brain that produce dopamine, which leads to issues with movement.
Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984, three years after he retired. His doctors did not connect the disease to injuries he received from boxing.
Marie-Francoise Chesselet, professor of neurology at UCLA with several publications on Parkinson’s, said there are studies “that show that a severe traumatic brain injury can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease later in life”.
However, the studies are not conclusive since other factors, such as environment or genetics, can also factor in as causes, she said.
Chesselet used the example of the pesticide paraquat to further elaborate. Sometimes exposure to paraquat shortly after traumatic brain injuries can increase the chances of developing Parkinson’s disease later on in life.
On the other hand, Dr Beckie Port, senior research communications officer at Parkinson’s UK, said currently there is “no evidence that single, mild or moderate injury to the head leads to Parkinson’s”.
Fighter And Thinker: The Two Sides Of Muhammad Ali
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on Jan. 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, to middle-class parents, Ali started boxing when he was 12, winning Golden Gloves titles before heading to the 1960 Olympics in Rome, where he won a gold medal as a light heavyweight.
He turned professional shortly afterward, supported at first by Louisville business owners who guaranteed him an unprecedented 50-50 split in earnings. His knack for talking up his own talents — often in verse — earned him the dismissive nickname “the Louisville Lip,” but he backed up his talk with action, relocating to Miami to work with top trainer Angelo Dundee and build a case for getting a shot at the heavyweight title.
As his profile rose, Ali acted out against American racism. After he was refused services at a soda fountain counter, he said, he threw his Olympic gold medal into a river.
Recoiling from the sport’s tightly knit community of agents and promoters, Ali found guidance instead from the Nation of Islam, an American Muslim sect that advocated racial separation and rejected the pacifism of most civil rights activism. Inspired by Malcolm X, one of the group’s leaders, he converted in 1963. But he kept his new faith a secret until the crown was safely in hand.
A Controversial Champion
Return to the Ring
‘He’s Human, Like Us’
The following year, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Ozzy Osbourne: Coming To Terms With His Diagnosis
Former Black Sabbath front man Ozzy Osbourne revealed the news of his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis in an emotional interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. Accompanied by his wife, Sharon, Osbourne confirmed that he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s in February 2019 following a series of health issues — though his case is mild and, as Sharon emphasized, “it’s not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination.”
“I’m no good with secrets,” the rock star confessed. “I cannot walk around with it anymore ‘cause it’s like I’m running out of excuses.”
The diagnosis coincided with a bad fall and subsequent surgery on his neck, as Osbourne began to experience numbness and chills in one arm and both legs. “I don’t know if that’s the Parkinson’s or what,” he said. “That’s the problem … it’s a weird feeling.” He’s now taking Parkinson’s medication along with nerve pills and has planned a trip to see a specialist in Switzerland in April 2020.
“I feel better now I’ve owned up to the fact that I have a case of Parkinson’s,” Osbourne said. “And I hope hang around, because I need them.”
Muhammad Ali: A Fighter For Parkinson’s Awareness
The beloved boxer Muhammad Ali coped with shaking hands and mobility challenges long before he retired from the sport in 1981. In 1984, doctors diagnosed Ali with Parkinson’s disease. Ali, the philanthropist Jimmy Walker, and Abraham Lieberman, MD, established the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center for movement disorders, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. It serves as a resource center for Parkinson’s and other movement disorders, including Huntington’s disease and essential tremor, for both patients and their families.
Ali was long associated with the annual gala fundraising event for Barrow Neurological Institute, Celebrity Fight Night, where he was the featured guest. Awareness-building runs in the family: His daughter Rasheda Ali wrote a book for children about Parkinson’s disease, I’ll Hold Your Hand so You Won’t Fall: A Child’s Guide to Parkinson’s Disease.
Muhammad Ali died in June 2016 at age 74.
Michael J Fox: Parkinson’s Champion For A Cure
Michael J. Fox is among the most well-known people living with Parkinson’s disease. Many remember him as the fresh-faced young star of the 1980s TV comedy hit Family Ties and the popular Back to the Future movies. Though most people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed between ages 40 and 60, Fox was diagnosed at age 30 — but his diagnosis didn’t slow him down.
He shared his young-onset Parkinson’s disease diagnosis with the world in 1998 and, two years later, founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Fox is committed to helping the foundation build Parkinson’s disease awareness and raise funds for research into prevention, treatment, and a cure. In addition to his advocacy work, he’s still a working actor; some more recent roles have included characters with Parkinson’s in the TV shows The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
“As long as I play a guy with Parkinson’s, I can do anything,” he joked in a 2013 AARP interview.
Brian Grant: Staying Positive With Parkinson’s
Brian Grant spent 12 seasons as a National Basketball Association player, playing for the Sacramento Kings, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Miami Heat, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Phoenix Suns. As an NBA player, he was known for his positive team commitment as well as his work with disadvantaged children. According to an interview with ESPN, he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease in January 2009, following his retirement from professional basketball. He went on to found the Brian Grant Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and inspiring those living with Parkinson’s disease to include exercise as medicine.
Freddie Roach: Boxing Trainer With Parkinson’s
Frederick “Freddie” Roach is a boxing trainer and former professional boxer. Bryant Gumbel included his story in the HBO series Real Sports, detailing Roach’s efforts to control his Parkinson’s disease with medication and continued work as a trainer. Roach, who began to show Parkinson’s symptoms over 20 years ago, trains world-famous boxers at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California, which he owns. His client list has included the likes of Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao, Mark Wahlberg, and Georges St. Pierre.
But having Parkinson’s hasn’t dimmed his commitment to boxing, even as it’s caused his speech to slur and his left arm to shake. “I’m in the gym every day; it’s part of life. Instead of taking a vacation, I like what I do. My vacations are right here,” Roach said in a 2015 CBS interview.
Michael Richard Clifford: Parkinson’s In Space
Michael Richard “Rich” Clifford began his career as a NASA astronaut in 1990. He’s since made three space flights, accumulating 665 hours orbiting Earth. Though diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1994, he continued to fly. Clifford was 42 and in apparent good health when he discovered his Parkinson’s disease, signaled at first by difficulty moving his right arm and hand correctly. In 2012, the American Academy of Neurology gave him the Public Leadership in Neurology Award for increasing awareness of Parkinson’s disease and for encouraging people living with Parkinson’s to continue to pursue their dreams.
“Everyone with PD handles it differently,” said Clifford in an interview with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “Don’t let it get in the way of living. Life is too good. Remember, keep going — the sky’s the limit.”
Ben Petrick: The Major League With Parkinson’s
Ben Petrick dreamed of a stellar baseball career as a catcher with the Colorado Rockies. He played in 240 Major League games, the majority of which came after Parkinson’s disease struck him at age 22 in 2000. He retired from baseball in 2004.
He’s since authored Forty Thousand to One, a book whose title in part references the 40,000 Americans diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every year. The book also recounts his experiences in Major League Baseball while coping with Parkinson’s disease. According to an ESPN interview, Petrick’s father was also diagnosed with the condition but maintains a positive attitude, saying that although he has Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s doesn’t have him.
Muhammad Ali: Parkinson’s Diseaseindigo Cowley
Muhammad Ali was born January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky in the segregated south. He realized his talent for boxing at the age of twelve.
Ali worked hard and became a boxing champion of the world and a boxing gold medalist.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1984 at age 42.
Parkinson’s disease is a neuro-degenerative disorder. The cells involved in movement begin to due to the lack of dopamine is is transmitted to the cell. Patient’s loose the ability to control voluntary movement which causes symptoms like trembling and the slowing down of their body. There is currently no cure although treatment is available to lessen the affects.
He had just retired from boxing in 1981 after hard loses against a few of boxing’s finest competitors. It is thought that being hit so hard in the head in his boxing days could have assisted the disease develop.
He developed the tendency to tremble, which is common among Parkinson’s patients and it became difficult for him to speak.
There’s no specific test to diagnose Parkinson’s. Medical history and neurological examination are used to diagnose as well as noticing the two cardinal symptoms which are trembling and rigidity.
He never let the disease get the best of him or feel sorry for himself. After retirement he raised funds for the Muhammad Ali Center, a community center he made in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky and supported the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Special Olympics.
Nsa And Fbi Monitoring Of Ali’s Communications
In a secret operation code-named “Minaret“, the National Security Agency intercepted the communications of leading Americans, including Ali, Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., prominent U.S. journalists, and others who criticized the U.S. war in Vietnam. A review by the NSA of the Minaret program concluded that it was “disreputable if not outright illegal.”
In 1971, his Fight of the Century with Frazier was used by an activist group, the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, to pull off a burglary at an FBI office in Pennsylvania; the anticipation for the fight was unlike anything else, so they believed the security would also be focused on the fight. This raid exposed the COINTELPRO operations that included illegal spying on activists involved with the civil rights and anti-war movements. One of the COINTELPRO targets was Ali, and their activities included the FBI gaining access to his records as far back as elementary school; one such record mentioned him loving art as a child.