Did Muhammad Ali invent rap? ESPN aired a documentary that advanced this theory. It's the central premise of a new book the company has published, called "Ali Rap." Author Chuck Klosterman proclaims that Ali's verbal barrage was more than self-promotion, it sowed the seeds of hip-hop.
I'm not sure this is a claim that stands up to close scrutiny, but it was a lot of fun to see clips of Ali's most boisterous moments. In watching many of them, I was struck by the spirit of fun that permeated everything he did and said. Ali wasn't bombastic in a mean spirited way. If he was attacking his opponents, he did it with humor rather than malice. It's a refreshing change from what we see so often from the athletes of today.