Letter to the Editor: Here’s another side of Muhammad Ali



During the 1980s, Hungarian-American pianist Judith Kenez held forth nightly in the lounge of the former Ramada Renaissance Hotel, located where Georgetown meets downtown in Washington, D.C. Playing requests for hours, even spontaneous versions of tunes she had never before heard – tunes hummed (often badly) by customers – Ms. Kenez regaled us not only with her musicianship but, as a Holocaust survivor, her stories of the persecution of Hungarian Jews.

One night, Muhammad Ali entered the lounge, pointed to the piano and walked directly to it. Wordlessly, he and Ms. Kenez traded places, he played “Chopsticks,” and warm applause followed. He then left silently. That simple gesture revealed an Ali not always remembered by his admirers and recalls the modesty of another boxer, the great Joe Louis, for whom every victory in the ring was “just another lucky night.”

John Clem, Edinburg