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My gift to Ali: Hope for peace

Updated: January 31, 2007, 7:15 PM ET
By Richard Lapchick | Special to ESPN.com

In my 61 years, I have visited more than 125 countries. Wherever I traveled, as soon as it was discovered I had anything to do with sports, someone asked if I knew Muhammad Ali. Even the first time I visited Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, he asked if I knew Ali. When I said, "Yes," he smiled wryly and said, "I do, too!"

On this day, Jan. 17, we celebrate Ali's 65th birthday. I doubt there is another living American whose birth would be hailed more universally. We first met at Kutsher's ...

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