Original Quote, in Context: “I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”
Why It’s Weird: Because, to the best of my knowledge, when Muhammad Ali said these words back in 1964, he wasn’t referring to a movie that wouldn’t be made for another 46 years (he was actually talking about his conversion to Islam). “Gutter King” is about a troubled kid who takes up boxing so, yes, Ali’s life is, to some degree, applicable. Whether Ali’s cool with this four decade old statement being taken out of context and used as an endorsement is another story. Also: if we’re just going to turn anything anyone says into a pull quote now, why stop there? Let’s get other notable historical figures involved! How about “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead” — Benjamin Franklin? Or “Nobody can hurt me without my permission” — Mahatma Gandhi? Let’s face it: “I’m free to be what I want” wasn’t even the best possible random Ali quote. What about this:
“The greatest of all time” — Muhammad Ali
Now that’s an endorsement.
This has been another installment of Weird Pull Quote Theater!