LAS VEGAS – As with certain people, some stories need little introduction.
O.J. Simpson had friends who died while he served nine years in a Nevada prison for kidnapping and armed robbery. Among them was icon Muhammad Ali.
From Simpson's exclusive interview with The Buffalo News, this is his recollection of the first time he met Ali, who had refused induction into the military during the Vietnam War:
"I was in New York for an All-American event, and Ali just happened to be there. There was a crowd of people around Ali. He was suspended, and I was in college. I was outside the crowd, just listening to him.
"He was funny as hell. He had everybody laughing. He noticed me. He pulled me aside and asked what I was doing in town. He asked if I had a car. I had a limo. He said, 'Why don't we meet here around 10 o'clock?' "
Simpson suggested they go to a hot Manhattan disco.
"He goes, 'Man, I can't go to no nightclubs! The FBI is following me! I'm a minister in the Nation of Islam, and they would love to catch me doing some stuff.' "
Ali climbed into Simpson's car and instructed the chauffeur where to go.
"I know this is a hooker area. The limo drives up, and, of course, all of the girls come running. He rolls down the window, and they see it's him. They didn't know me from Adam's housecat, but they go crazy for Ali.
"He yells 'Girl, does your mama know that you're out here? What are you doing with that dress on? Go home and get a job!' They don't know he's broke. They're asking him for money and stuff.
"I swear, we did that for about an hour, hour and a half. We'd go to different areas and do the same routine, just doing it for kicks. It was so funny."