Muhammad Ali is often hailed as “The Greatest” — a boxing champion, a civil rights icon.
On Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, he is also one of a kind. His star is the only one of more than 2,500 honoring celebrities that is not on the sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.
It’s at eye level, on a wall next to the Walk of Fame, just in front of the Dolby Theatre — home to the Oscars.
As usually happens when an actor or singer honored with a star dies, mourners have flocked to Ali’s star to snap pictures and leave flowers since the heavyweight champion died Friday in Arizona at age 74.
In 2002, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce placed Ali’s star at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, honoring him in the “live performances” category for his fabulous success in the boxing ring.
But mounting the star on the wall was a break with tradition. Ali did not want people to walk upon his name.
“I bear the name of our beloved prophet Muhammad, and it is impossible that I allow people to trample over his name,” said Ali, who converted to Islam in the 1960s.
Johnny Grant, chairman of the Walk of Fame committee, said at the time: “Muhammad Ali is one of the most famous showmen in the world.”