Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay, shocked the world when he became the boxing heavyweight champion of the world at the young age of twenty-two. His brash, fast-talking style captured the attention of the media and the adoration of young fans. His brilliance in the sport was later overshadowed by his involvement in the Nation of Islam—where he changed his name to Ali—and by his protests against American involvement in the war in Vietnam, a decision which cost him the heavyweight title and got him banned from the sport of boxing. But he returned to the sport, and won back the title that was stripped from him. At one time the most recognized sports figure in the world, Ali thrilled millions with his phenomenal speed and his charismatic personality. But it was his courage and resolve, in the face of boxing opponents in the ring and the U.S. government in his personal life, that made him a hero to people everywhere.