After his “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire, Muhammad Ali was asked: “Champ, what did you think of Africa?” He replied, “Thank God my granddaddy got on that boat."
This reminds me that in the book, Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association by Terry Pluto, he recounts the story of an ABA basketball player on a goodwill tour in the Soviet Union before its collapse.
Upon seeing the poverty and despair in the region, he remarked that every American should spend a couple of days in the Soviet bloc to appreciate capitalism.
Rick Fitz emails:
It appears the original quote is from Dinesh D'Souza, and is a (typically) sloppy botched quote and attribution. I started to use it on Twitter with Ta-Nehisi Coates, but decided to research it first- it didn't sound like "black is beautiful" Ali to me.
From the UK Independent on the "Rumble in the Jungle"-
Dick Sadler, Foreman's ebullient trainer, confided in us: "Ah sure am damn glad my grandaddy caught that slave ship."
This was then misattributed to Ali by D'Souza, and even wikiquotes can't find any attributed quote that doesn't trace back to said hack NeoCon plagiarist fantabulist.
Ali's eloquent defense of his freedom not to fight for the government is his best contribution to liberty.