It seemed too perfect. Certainly Cassius Winston, who said he wanted to win a Class A basketball state championship and four consecutive Catholic League titles before he enrolled at U-D Jesuit, had to be named for Cassius Clay, who later became known as Muhammad Ali?
“His dad wanted to name him Hannibal after a great warrior,” said Wendi Winston, his mother. “He wanted him to be Hannibal, and he was Hannibal in my belly. I was praying for a girl. When he came out to be a boy, I started throwing out every name I could think of.”
Wendi was in a state of panic because she realized if she went along with the Hannibal, her first child would be linked to Hannibal Lecter, the character made famous by Anthony Hopkins’ role in the 1991 movie “Silence of the Lambs.”
“Hannibal is an awesome name, but people would have thought of the guy who ate people,” she said. “It couldn’t be Hannibal.”
Winston remained unnamed for a day or so until his parents finally decided on Cassius.
“The medical records person said: ‘You’ve got 12 hours. Otherwise he’s leaving here Baby Boy Winston.’ ” his mother said. “I threw out every name I could think of and Cassius was the one that stuck.”
Winston has long been aware of Ali’s given name, but his recent death taught Winston some things he didn’t know about Ali.
“I didn’t know he was so big into politics,” he said. “Everything I had known about him was how great a fighter he was.”
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.