This past weekend was the “Greatest Two Minutes in All of Sports” played out in Louisville. The other 364 days of the years in the city, you should visit a museum dedicated to The Greatest.
I love going to museums — big, small, history, art, science, halls of fame. The Muhammad Ali Center ranks up there to museums dedicated to one person — up there with the Picasso Museum in Barcelona or Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
The best athlete in the history of sports deserves a museum worthy of his grandeur. It works as a sports museum that chronicles his achievements in boxing. It works as a history museums for civil rights in the 60s. Pull that together and you see why Ali means so much to modern history. He’s a man who shaped the world and a world that shaped him.
What I love above the museum is how it’s laid out where you go through time with Ali, from what Louisville was like when he was born in 1942 to specific points in the Civil Right movement. The first bit of trivia I learned — he was encouraged to learn boxing when his bike was stolen and the local policeman encouraged him to fight back against the bullies in the neighborhood.
The Ali Center is fairly modern, so there are plenty of multi-media installations that go beyond the boxing world. If anything, the museum focuses more of Ali’s influence in history over his sports accolades. It’s museum for all people even if you don’t care about boxing.
I wasn’t planning on staying for two plus hours, but I found myself watching the whole “Rumble in the Jungle” and “Thrilla in Manilla” fights. There’s a portion of the museum where you can look down onto a boxing ring and see projections of interviews and fights. Even better, Samuel L. Jackson narrates a few videos along the way without cursing.
Toward the end, the museum focuses on his humanitarian efforts when he was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. At the end, there a few painting by artists inspired by the GOAT.
Plan for two to three hours at the museum, which has something for everyone.