Accolades: 1960 Light Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medal, Three-time World Heavyweight Champion
Easily the most prominent Muslim sports figure of our time, Muhammad Ali captured the hearts of Americans with his word play and supreme boxing skill—until he changed his name that is. He changed it during the Civil Rights Movement and pledged allegiance to the Nation of Islam. He spoke out vehemently against the Vietnam War and was banished from boxing for three years in 1967 because of these beliefs and his refusal to joing the Army.
Ironically, some of the American public began to warm up to Ali during this time because they too opposed the war. After winning two fights when he returned to the ring, he got a title shot against Joe Frazier, but lost in a legendary match deemed “The Fight of the Century.” He eventually became a champion again after being unjustly stripped of his belts back in ‘67. Ali defeated every top heavyweight in the golden era of heavyweight boxing making him “The Greatest.”