In 1977, at the age of 35, late boxing legend Muhammad Ali was on an English television show taking questions from the audience. A young boy asked the boxing legend about his plans after he retires from the sport.
After jokingly snoring, Ali surprised the audience with a long, thoughtful answer about how long people live and are actually doing productive things. His answer then turned to how he wanted “help people” after retirement. “When I get out of boxing, or when I’m through, I’m going to do all I can to help people,” Ali said.
Then it took a turn no one saw coming.
Ali told the crowd,”God don’t praise me because I beat Joe Frasier, God don’t care nothing about England or America as far as real wealth, it’s all His. He wants to know ‘How do we treat each other, how do we help each other?’ So, I’m gonna dedicate my life to using my name and popularity to helping charities, helping people, uniting people. People bombing each other because of religious beliefs. We need somebody in the world to help make peace. So when I die, if there’s a Heaven, I want to see it.”
“We don’t have but about 80 years on Earth,” Ali continued. “This is a test to see where will we spend our life, in Heaven or Hell? This is not the life now, your real self is inside you. Your body gets old. Some of you don’t have no teeth, your hair’s leaving you, your bodies get tired, but your soul and your spirit never die. That’s gonna live forever. So your body is just housing your soul and spirit. So God is testing us no how we treat each other, how we live, to see where our real home will be in Heaven. So this physical stuff don’t last for so long.”
Concluding his answer, Ali said, “The most important thing about life is what’s gonna happen when you die, are you gonna go to Heaven or Hell? And that’s eternity.”
“So what am I going to do when I’m through fighting?” Ali ended, “Get myself ready to meet God and go to the best place. Don’t that make sense?”