Wlady, it’s because Ali refused the draft, was barred from boxing for a period, and then returned as a martyr. He attained designated worship object (DWO) status at that time. Interesting rhetorical questions: How many elements of DWO status (black, female, gay, HIV positive, labor union, communist, radical, etc.) does a figure have to have? Are there any absolute essentials? Would a Rocky Balboa-type white Ali have been possible? Poor Italian kid refuses Selective Service with the counseling of his religious leaders, and so forth?