The Magical Day When Prince & Muhammad Ali Met (Video)

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Though 2016 is not yet halfway over, it already has been one in which several tremendous pop culture icons have been lost. David Bowie, Phife Dawg, Prince and Muhammad Ali are just some of those greats. However, while their physical forms are no longer among us, their bodies of work endure and more and more magical moments involving them are either surfacing for the first time or being given new life. One such instance involves new details about the day that Muhammad Ali and Prince met.

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In speaking with the BBC, David Clark, the man who arranged the meeting recalled the circumstances under which it occurred and how Ali and Prince (known as The Artist at the time), responded to one another. The event took place in June 1997, at the Hay-Adams hotel in Washington, D.C., when Ali invited Prince to support his World Healing Project charity. Clark, who at the time worked with Ali on the project, said “I had heard that The Artist was a Muhammad Ali fan and had never met him. We’d known it was an incredibly, incredibly long shot to get someone like him to say “Yes” and travel on his own dime at such short notice.” Prince, when re-telling the story later that day at a press conference, said “My friend Londell McMillan called me a couple of days ago and asked me. He said, ‘Muhammad wants you to…’ and I said ‘Yes’. I didn’t even let him finish. He could have said, ‘Mow the lawn,’ and I would have been down with it. Muhammad’s my hero. He has been since I was a child.”

When Ali and Prince did finally meet, it was clear the admiration was mutual. Clark says “They were like two kids. These were two men who were trailblazers. The ‘authenticness’ of each impressed the other.” He spoke about their bonding over magic tricks, recalling that “Muhammad told Prince he wanted to show him a special trick – Muhammad then got up and pretended to levitate. Prince said ‘That’s nothing’ and jumped up on the table and pretended to be doing the same trick.”

Prince Ali

The article shines as a portrait of two of the most celebrated human beings on the planet sharing a moment when each could be normal and even a fan. Read the full BBC story here.