Regina King’s One Night in Miami creates an emotionally intimate portrait of Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), the legendary boxer who, shortly after turning into the heavyweight champion of the world, denounced the identify Cassius Clay. Indeed, it was across the occasions of the movie that the trailblazing Ali introduced his new id.
The Amazon Prime film, primarily based on Kemp Powers’s play of the identical identify, takes us to the night time of Feb. 25, 1964, when the 22-year-old boxer famously defeated Sonny Liston. That night, the younger champion frolicked together with his mates Sam Cooke, Malcolm X, and Jim Brown. A month later, he introduced to the world that he was Muhammad Ali. But why, precisely, did he change his identify? After publicly becoming a member of the Nation of Islam, Ali put it in his personal phrases: “Cassius Clay is a slave name.”
During a press convention after his historic night time, Ali first introduced that his identify can be Cassius X. This title paid homage to his pal and mentor Malcolm X, who watched his combat from the sidelines. Ali later declared that he was formally changing to Islam.
A month after defeating Liston, he informed the world that his identify was Muhammad Ali. Regarding the identify Cassius Clay, Ali informed the world, “I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name — it means beloved of God, and I insist people use it when people speak to me.”
Unfortunately, the media continued calling him by the identify Cassius Clay nicely into the ’60s. And it wasn’t simply the press — Ali’s opponents would additionally discuss with him by his former identify. His combat with Ernie Terrell in 1967 grew to become recognized to boxing followers because the “What’s My Name” combat. In the ring, Ali would regularly ask Terrell, “What’s my name?,” earlier than in the end defeating him.
According to USA Today, Ali by no means formally modified his identify, as a authorized identify change was not required within the Sixties. However, each official doc issued to him was underneath his chosen identify. Formally or informally, it’s abundantly clear that the boxer would endlessly go down in historical past because the triumphant Muhammad Ali.