Ali super snacks debut on his birthday this Wednesday

The great Muhammad Ali, one of the best loved and, unfortunately, most exploited athletes of all time, is not in good shape these days. Many who saw him at Madison Square Garden recently, where his daughter Laila was fighting, were shocked at how reduced he appeared.

Maybe because of his condition, maybe because he is one of the most recognized men on the planet, Ali is lending his name, image and reputation, according to the AP, to a series of snack foods aimed at 18-to-24-year olds. It’s the former heavyweight champion’s first foray into marketing his image since selling most of the rights to his name and likeness for $50 million last year.

The snacks are produced in conjunction with Mars, Inc., and should hit the shelves at five colleges this Wednesday, coinciding with The Greatest’s 65th birthday.

Other celebrities, including but not limited to Elvis Presley, Evel Knievel and Rosa Parks have made similar moves to set up revenue streams for themselves and their families.

Peter Arnell of The Arnell Group, which helped create and has a financial stake in the snacks’ success or failure, said Ali, by virtue of being Ali, by virtue of lending his name to this new product, automatically give the snacks instant street cred, a “cool factor” according to Arnell, other brands can only dream of duplicating. “You can’t escape the power of his brand. He is just so current in so many different ways.”

The snacks are given boxing-related names such as Jabs,”Rumble and Shuffle”. The flavors include “Fruit Fight,” “Slammin’ Salsa” and “Thrill-A-Dill-A.” The sweet snacks are shaped like boxing gloves, medicine balls, head gear, ring ropes and speed bags.

Their nutritional value may be next to nothing.

Although The Greatest has been paid in advance for the right to use his name, we hope, as a matter of principle, that the Ali snacks turn out to be a big hit.