On June 4, 1967, a cadre of America’s most outstanding African American athletes gathered in the offices of the Black Economic Union in Cleveland, Ohio. Although the meeting took place in the offices of an organization dedicated to increasing economic opportunities, money was not on the agenda.
This group, which included Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bobby Mitchell, and Jim Brown, was not gathering to discuss contracts, agencies, or endorsement deals. There was no option for all of the assembled athletes to move to one city and form some sort of multisport dream team. There were no catchy nicknames, festive parades or forthcoming announcements. The decision that this group arrived at would not be revealed on a 60-minute special on ESPN–even though they had a monumental decision to make. Their reason for sitting down together was to decide whether or not to stand together and support Muhammad Ali.
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