Watching Steve Jobs stare slack-jawed at Muhammad Ali

060416blog muhammad ali

Muhammad Ali, 2013

Credit: REUTERS/Andreas Meier

Everyone who has a personal story about Muhammad Ali is sharing it today, including this remarkable anecdote from Dan Bricklin, father of the spreadsheet, originally posted online in 1999.

“For those of you too young to remember Ali as the most famous person in the world, let me tell you about the one time I saw him in person. I was at Ben Rosen / Esther Dyson's PC conference in Palm Springs, California; January 1983, I think. Ali was attending a fighter's training camp at the same hotel. We were walking to some event outside. I was next to Steve Jobs and maybe Bill Gates was there. Ali walked down the street. I just remember how we all stopped to watch, mouths open, even Steve. I remember how well he carried himself and his tailored clothes. It made our industry seem small -- here were our top people and all we could do was stand and stare as ‘the Greatest’ walked by oblivious to us and our industry.”

Mouths open, even Steve.

(UPDATE: There's no photo of the encounter -- or photo of Jobs and Ali together that I could find -- but here's the next best thing.)

(UPDATE, June 5: Apple has devoted its homepage to a tribute to Ali.

It reads: Muhammad Ali … 1942-2016 … “The man who has no imagination has no wings.” Here's a screen shot.

060516blog apple ali homepage

Coincidentally, the homepage picture of Ali appears to be the same one from Getty Images that I linked to above, only there you see Jobs standing beneath the photo of Ali in an Apple Store genius bar.)

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