Born January 27, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Clay began boxing at age 12 and later won a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics for the USA. Shortly afterwards, he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Ali is regarded as one of the leading heavyweight boxers of the 20th century. He remains the only three-time lineal heavyweight champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Between February 25, 1964, and September 19, 1964, Ali reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion. He is the only boxer to be named The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year six times. He was ranked as the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated and the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC. ESPN SportsCentury ranked him the 3rd greatest athlete of the 20th century.
Like many other great fighters, Ali was introduced to boxing by a police officer. Louisville police officer and boxing coach Joe E. Martin encountered the 12-year-old Ali fuming over a thief taking his bicycle. He told the officer he was going to "whup" the thief. The officer told him he had better learn how to box first. Initially, Ali did not take up on Martin's offer, but after seeing amateur boxers on a local television boxing program called Tomorrow's Champions, he became interested in the prospects of fighting for fame, fortune, and glory
Ali, unlike most of the professional fighters on the time, liked to do his own talking outside of the ring. In what later became his catchphrase, Ali described his boxing style in this way - "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!"
Later in life, Ali became known as an activist and philanthropist, receiving world-wide acclaim and respect in these endeavors.
Ali battled Parkinson's disease and other illnesses until his death on June 3, 2016. Following his death, ESPN played four hours of non-stop commercial-free coverage of Ali. BET played their documentary Muhammad Ali: Made In Miami. News networks such as CNN, BBC, Fox News, and ABC News also covered him extensively.
Ali's funeral was pre-planned by himself and others beginning years prior to his actual death. The services began in Louisville on June 9, 2016, with an Islamic Janazah prayer service at Freedom Hall on the grounds of the Kentucky Exposition Center. A funeral procession went through the streets of Louisville on June 10, 2016, ending at Cave Hill Cemetery, where a private interment ceremony occurred. Ali's grave is marked with a simple granite marker that bears only his name. A public memorial service for Ali at downtown Louisville's KFC Yum! Center was held in the afternoon of June 10. His pallbearers included Will Smith, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson, with honorary pallbearers including George Chuvalo, Larry Holmes and George Foreman.
This patch was made for the law enforcement security detail assigned to the memorial service at the Yum Center, which was deemed a National Security Event by the United States Secret Service due to the dignitaries who were attending, which included former President Bill Clinton as well as several foreign kings and dignitaries. The design is a nod to Ali's catch phrase, replacing angel wings with colorful butterfly wings. There were only 50 of the patches made and they are individually numbered on the back. They were made by Gman Emblem.
Source: Det. James Clark (Louisville Metro Police Department) and Wikipedia.