Muhammad Ali

Sport: Boxing
Years: 1960-1981
The boxer many consider the Greatest wasn't always loved by the majority of sports fans. When he changed his name from Cassius Clay after converting to Islam, many writers refused to call him by his name. When Ali refused to join the Army because of his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War it created quite a nationwide controversy. "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong ... They never called me nigger," said Ali. Though not really seen as controversial today, Ali's outspoken opposition to Vietnam War caused many to call him a draft dodger while pointing to and praising athletes in the past who served such as Joe Louis and Willie Mays. The then heavyweight champion was also stripped of his title and sentenced to five years in jail (although he didn't end up serving time). A few decades and questionable foreign conflicts later, Ali is considered an American sports hero. Progressive views, FTW!