The Big East Conference Tournament at Bright House Field in Clearwater this week was the site of one of the world’s most famous athletes (if not the most famous).
In attendance was former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, who came to watch the game between Louisville and West Virginia.
Known as the Louisville Lip in his early days, the now 68 year-old boxing legend was there to watch his hometown team and visit with his adopted son, Asaad Ali , a freshman with the Cardinals who is sitting out the season as a redshirt, but has been working as the bullpen catcher.
The 5-10, 250 pound Asaad was mainly a catcher at Niles High School in Michigan where he made first team All-Conference was selected in the 40th round of the MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
In his senior year in high school, the younger Ali hit .367 with two homers and 18 RBIs. Born in Louisville, he loves his dad of course but says his favorite athletes are Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Grant Hill and his favorites teams are the Phoenix Suns and Notre Dame football.
Asaad is the youngest of Muhammad Ali’s nine children. He and his wife Lonnie adopted Asaad as a baby when Lonnie’s sister was asked by a friend to watch the child until he could be placed through adoption, according to published reports. However, after seeing Asaad on a visit and Ali and Lonnie decided to adopt him.