When Muhammad Ali died recently, I found myself thinking of an odd memory connected to him. I summered for a law firm quite a few years ago now. During that program, they had come up with a game to try to get the ten to thirteen summer associates or so to know the partners of the firm better. A number of the partners had something unusual about them, and we had to figure out which.
What would happen was that we’d be given a factoid. One of the partners once did X. We couldn’t ask them, but there were attorneys who would answer our yes or no questions about such. There was supposed to be a little prize for each round.
Now, the first question was “Which partner once boxed with Muhammad Ali?” This one actually interested me for some reason, so I thought about it. Getting an official fight list for Muhammad Ali was easy, and matching it up with the partners in the firm directory led nowhere. I looked under Cassius Clay as well, but didn’t really find more fights.
The more I thought about it though, it had to have been before Muhammad Ali changed his name. It had to have been something small in order for it not to leave a record, and by the time he was Muhammad Ali he wouldn’t have been part of much that wasn’t recorded in multiple places.
It had to be something really small.
So, I looked at Ali’s bio. He did Golden Gloves. I was sure things were a lot more amateur when he was getting started with that, possibly involving unrecorded sparring matches. However, one wouldn’t travel as much for things like that as for bigger, professional matches. Ali was from Louisville, Kentucky, so something small would likely have been around there.
Of course, the partner’s biographies on the firm site didn’t really list where they were from as kids…but I did find one guy who went to the University of Kentucky. Did it mean he was from Louisville? No. However, I figured at that time it was much more likely someone went to the University of Kentucky if they were from Kentucky. I had no clue about any other partner being from Kentucky (one other one went to school in Tennessee, and he was my back up guess).
So…I asked if it was the University of Kentucky guy, and I won. When I was given my prize (a plastic cup with the firm logo on it or a stress ball with the firm logo on it, I don’t remember which was for this one), I had to explain how I got the answer. When I laid out all the above, the questioner (a litigator) asked if I’d ever reconsider my decision not to become a litigator.
I’m way more proud of this than I deserve to be.