In the last few decades, since his illustrious boxing career came to a close, Muhammad Ali has been heralded as being one of the greatest at his craft. Ali was a fearless fighter in the ring that was a part of many legendary matches that only further raised his legacy and admiration. However, it wasn’t always that bravado approach. He had issues like many others, including his fear of flying, which played a big part in his life, especially during his boxing career. All of that led to Ali going the route of buying a parachute to soothe that fear better.
Muhammad Ali had a fear of flying
Throughout his career, Muhammad Ali was one of the most prominent boxers of hist time due to his ability in the ring, his outspokenness with social injustice, and his trash-talking.
However, there were other sides of Ali that many didn’t know during his illustrious career. One of which was his fear of flying. According to Travel and Leisure, Ali’s fear of flying in a plane may have originated from a death-defying one-hour flight from Louisville to Chicago that that had some strong turbulence.
“Many times I’ve searched my mind to find where the fear originated,” he wrote, explaining the death-defying one-hour flight from Louisville to Chicago. According to Ali, “some of the seats were torn from their bolts on the floor.”
And Ali wasn’t exaggerating. Joe Martin, his one-time coach, noted in Jonathan Eig’s “Ali: A Life,” “I really thought it was our last ride… and I mean Cassius was praying and hollering! Oh, man, he was scared to death.”
Ali’s fear was rooted in a terrible flight experience that can drive anybody to dislike flying altogether. That is a common mindset that many have when those situations occur that can lead to that thought process to occur to view it as risking your life every time you fly.
Muhammad Ali bought a parachute in response
It led Muhammad Ali down the path of trying to take at least some of the situation into his hands.
Ali had to utilize flying on a plane due to the many locations that his fights were across the globe. With that in mind, Ali elected to go the route of buying a parachute that he took with him on every flight.
“He went to an army supply store and bought a parachute and actually wore it on the plane,” Joe Martin Jr., Martin’s son, noted. He reportedly took it on board every flight with him.
Ali wanted to take any precautionary measures with the situation and what better to bring aboard his own purchased parachute. It’s a bit out of the box, but something that gave him peace at mind with having to fly. Ali went the extra mile to provide that additional safety that thankfully, he never had to think about utilizing during a flight.
Part of Muhammad Ali’s legacy
The need to buy and have a parachute on every flight is part of who Muhammad Ali was.
Ali was a unique person that became an iconic sports figure in the ring and a social icon out of it over the years. He was one of a kind and forever endeared in the sports world.
Numerous stories have paint a better picture of who Ali was outside the squared circle, and this is one of them.