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Bruce Lee's respect and admiration for Muhammad Ali came from their shared Humanitarianism.
On what would have been the actor, director, martial artist and philosopher’s 80th birthday, his only daughter Shannon has spoke of his love of watching the former world heavyweight champion.
Lee, who is considered to be the most influential martial artist of all time, passed away in 1973 at the age of just 32, and his daughter has spoken of his interests and if he would have moved into politics.
When asked if she believed he would have gravitated toward Humanitarian work like Ali or politics like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Shannon revealed: “I feel my father was a Humanitarian. I don’t think he would have got into politics.
“He did Humanitarian type of things in his life. I think he was very interested in the human condition. He tried to help people as far as racism is concerned, and to be helpful and of service to those who he felt he could help.
“So, I do think that if one looks closely at his philosophies you can see that he talks often about this notion of helping people, peace and harmony, the idea of equality, and his fight against racism.
“His philosophy speaks directly to the human spirit and helping people to be the best they can, which to me is Humanitarian notion that if you have that within yourself to help and be of service and you have something that can nourish people in that way, then over time you want to share that as much as possible.
“And he conveyed his message via his films as he battled racism.”
Ali, who is considered to be the greatest boxer of all time and is one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th century, passed away in 2016 at the age of 74.
Shannon said when asked about the influence that he had on her father: “My father loved Muhammad Ali. He loved to watch him fight, first of all.
“He had boxing films of him and he would study them. So he was definitely a great admirer.
“I think my father would’ve been an admirer of his stance, his own stance as a Humanitarian, and the ability to express himself.
“My father was all about honest self-expression and he himself expressed himself honestly, powerfully, and Muhammad Ali did as well.
“So I think my father was and would have continued to be a huge fan of Muhammad Ali’s, and so are we. There are two names that are mentioned together in the same breath often.
“I think that’s wonderful, it’s a beautiful thing. I hope it continues to be the case because he is also an icon.”
Shannon’s book, Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee is available to buy now.
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