The major characteristic that Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X shared was that they were both fighters, doing whatever was in their power to fight for what they believed in. There are many similarities between the two men; they were both African American Muslims growing up in American, both men had suffered a tough upbringing due to the period of time in American, both men had changed their birth name due to it being a name that was given to them by white slaves, and both men were members of the Nation of Islam at a time.
Malcolm X was a civil rights activist and has been remembered as one of the greatest African Americans of all time. To his supports he was known as a hero who fought for the rights of blacks, a man who wanted to punish America for the crimes they committed against black people. To his opponents he was accused of supporting violence against whites and preaching about racism and black supremacy. Over time his beliefs changed. As a spoksman for the Nation of Islam he encouraged seperation of the blacks and whites, whereas the Civil Rights Movement and civil rights activists encouraged integration. He can be considered a rebel who was determined to do anything for his cause.
Muhammad Ali on the other hand was one of, if not the greatest, heavyweight boxer. In comparsion with Malcolm X, Ali was far more famous for his boxing than his political stance. Although he was publically vilified for refusing to be conscripted to the US Military due to his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was arrested and stripped of his boxing titles and did not box again for four years.
Nowadays both men also have a similar legacy. Malcolm X is remembered as one of the most influencial Americans of all times due to his political standings. Muhammad Ali is also remembered as one of the greatest ever Americans but he is more known for his sporting prowess rather than his politics