Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Story Behind One Of The Most Iconic Images of Muhammad Ali

"Ali had just gotten his title taken away because he had refused to go in the Army, so he was a martyr. Our story was Let's do him as a martyr. Who's a martyr? Saint Sebastian is a martyr. When he got to the shoot, we explained what it was all about—we never told people what they were going to do before they got to a shoot; they would never show up if we did—and there was a little hassle given the fact that Saint Sebastian is a Christian. Ali said, 'I'm a Muslim now.' And so we got Chicago on the line and I spoke to Herbert Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad's son, from the Nation of Islam. I told him this was going to be a cover of Esquire magazine, and Herbert Muhammad said, 'Oh, that's good publicity. I'll tell him that he can do it.' And so Ali did."
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