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Drew "Bundini" Brown

(1928 - 1987)


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Drew "Bundini" Brown was the assistant trainer and "cornerman" for Muhammad Ali, a heavyweight boxing champion. He was also a convert to Judaism and a part time actor.

Brown grew up in Florida and joined the Navy at age 13. After serving and traveling the world he joined Muhammad Ali's entourage in 1963 and stayed there until Ali's retirement. He also wrote speeches for Ali, including the famous phrase "float like a butterly, sting like a bee."

He married a Jewish woman named Rhoda Palestine in the early 1950s, and they would later have a son named Drew Brown III. This was at a time when the country was notably hostile to interracial marriages and it was even illegal in some southern states. Because of his marriage Brown would convert to Reform Judaism.

Brown died in 1987 due to lingering injuries from a car accident.


Sources:

New York Times: "Obituary: Drew Bundini Brown."
New York Times: "SPORTS OF THE TIMES: Float like a Bundini."

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