The sports world is in mourning today after learning of the news that Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74.
When reminiscing about Muhammad Ali, one could look back on any number of things. He was an Olympic gold medalist in 1960 in Rome. He was a three-time heavyweight champion and took part in some of the greatest bouts in boxing history. There was the name change from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali after he joined the Nation of Islam in 1964, which ultimately led to his controversial refusal into the United States Army, claiming that his religious beliefs wouldn’t allow him to fight against those who had done no harm to him or his family. The move would cost him years of his boxing career.
Following his career in the ring, Ali would find himself in another battle, this time with Parkinson’s disease. However, even with the affliction, Muhammad Ali used a different kind of strength to fight through it and became an ambassador for peace around the world. He would also create more iconic moments in the sports world, including an amazing return to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta as he lit the flame at the opening ceremony.
The list of accomplishments and accolades goes on and on; while Muhammad Ali is no longer with us, the legacy he leaves behind is incredible. With all of the memories one could think of when discussing Ali, it’s hard to ignore what many might consider to be his greatest legacy: his words. Never one to shy away from a microphone, Muhammad Ali leaves behind some of the greatest quotes in history, and there are so many different types to choose from.
As Ali’s fame and popularity grew, so did his opinion of himself, and that’s certainly not a bad thing in the sports world. Believing in your own abilities, especially in the boxing ring, is vital to success and Muhammad Ali was certainly never lacking in that department. Here’s a few of the greatest quotes from Ali about — well, Ali.
— Muhammad Ali (@MuhammadAli) May 11, 2016
“I’m young; I’m handsome; I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.”
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
“I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.”
“It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”
“If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”
“I’m the most recognized and loved man that ever lived cuz there weren’t no satellites when Jesus and Moses were around, so people far away in the villages didn’t know about them.”
Of course, Muhammad Ali also saved a few words for his opponents, and even some for those who came before him.
“He’s (Sonny Liston) too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty like me!”
“I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I’m in a world of my own.”
Muhammad Ali was also a big fan of rhyming. Arguably his most famous quote was such a rhythmic verse.
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.
“I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And throw thunder in jail.”
— Muhammad Ali (@MuhammadAli) April 21, 2016
While it sometimes seemed like it, not everything that came out of his mouth was meant to be funny. Muhammad Ali has inspired millions upon millions of people around the world and it’s quotes like these that are a big reason why.
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”
Ali also had a few Yogi Berra-type gems as well.
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
“A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
However you choose to remember Muhammad Ali, it’s undeniable the mark that he left on this world and the words he left behind will live on forever. Every fight ends, and Muhammad Ali chose to battle right up until the very last second. Rest in peace, champ.
“Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.”
[AP Photo/Charles Harrity]