Yesterday, for some unknown reason, Vince punished me by sending me a link to the Tumblr Storyboard interview with Kreayshawn, who is very hip and with it, according to the kids. Fortunately, after I was done scrubbing that out of my brain, I noticed another interview, this one with Muhammad Ali. Actually, the main interview is with a man named Michael Aisner, who was just 17-years old when Ali was on the verge of not only becoming the baddest man of all-time, but also one of the most politically iconic athletes of any generation.
Aisner and his friends ran a high school radio station – the same kind that our friend Richie “The Big Bopper” Belding ran in his day – and they also had some big balls with which they reached out to some celebrities to set up interviews. Amazingly, an acquaintance of Ali not only took a call from these relentless kids, but he eventually granted the interview.
It was in the summer of 1966 when a star-struck 17-year-old set out to interview his idol: Muhammad Ali. Twenty miles from the South Side of Chicago, in Glencoe, Ill., Michael Aisner was calling repeatedly to the gym where the boxing champ was training. Finally, a man named Mr. Shabazz — Jeremiah Shabazz, perhaps? The man who introduced Ali to Islam? — picked up.
“Where are you from?” Shabazz asked the boy.
“I’m from WNTH, a high school radio station,” Aisner said.
“The champ doesn’t have time to talk,” he told him.
Aisner called back two days later. And then two days after that.
“Can I interview the champ?” he asked again.
Finally, Shabazz relented.
“Ok,” he said. “The champ will meet you.”
When Aisner sat down with Ali, the champ talked about the basics of boxing and his passion for fighting. He also – for no reason other than he felt like it – told a story about him flying to Mars to fight the intergalactic champion. And Aisner originally didn’t record it. But apparently it was so good that Eisner asked him to do it again so he could record it. Sure enough, Ali told his fictional title fight story again. Forty-six years later, Aisner has revealed that audio, and it is amazing.
And I’ve included the Mars story in GIF form on the next page…