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Oprah: You think he's the best?

Muhammad: Yes.

Oprah: After you refused to go to Vietnam, you received assassination threats. When you were preparing for one fight, you had to have FBI protection—which is a funny thing, considering what we now know about the FBI and how you were on Hoover's famous list of those seen as a threat to the nation.

Muhammad: They weren't going to kill me. They knew I'd become too big of a hero if they killed me.

Oprah: But were you frightened by the death threats?

Muhammad: No. I was only frightened about Judgment Day and facing God. I believe in that. I didn't want to submit to the army and then, on the day of judgment, have God say to me, "Why did you do that?" This life is a trial, and you realize that what you do is going to be written down for Judgment Day.

Oprah: I've read that you've said there is a reason you have Parkinson's. Why do you believe you have this illness?

Muhammad: A million people have Parkinson's disease.

Oprah: Do you feel that having it is part of God's plan for you?

Muhammad: I can't see what God's plan is. I just know I've got to live with it.

Oprah: How did you first notice the disease? Were your hands shaking, or did you have memory loss?

Muhammad: Yes. First my little finger was shaking, and then my whole hand started shaking. I said to myself, "I've got to fight this. I've got to try to knock it out and predict the round."

Oprah: Do you still feel that way?

Muhammad: I don't worry about it.

Oprah: The perception many people have is that you got hit too many times—that you're punch-drunk. Does the illness have anything to do with being hit in the head?

Muhammad: If that were so, then a million people must have gotten hit in the head! Joe Frazier got hit more than me—and he doesn't have Parkinson's. Sonny Liston got hit hard, but he doesn't have it.

Oprah: Well, he's dead.

Muhammad: No boxer in the history of boxing has had Parkinson's. There's no injury in my brain that suggests that the illness came from boxing.

Oprah: As a boxer, did you ever feel bad about knocking your opponent out?

Muhammad: No. My intention wasn't to hurt anybody.

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