Muhammad Ali didn’t just float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, he also lost 3 and a half prime years of his career while fighting the draft as doggedly as he did Sonny Liston. He controversially converted to Islam at a time when most Americans didn’t even know what that was (but they knew they didn’t like it) and even raised the roof by way of talking a suicidal jumper off of one.
The man did a lot. With his fists and with his mouth. Born as Cassius Clay, his mesmerizing ability to fight with wars with his words could best be described as flow years before hip hop was even a thing. And his talent was so titanic that, well, Titanic up and plagiarized the self-described “king of the world”. Hell, the real life super hero even negotiated the release of American hostages in Iraq!
Last night Ali passed away due to respiratory issues, surrounded by family at a Phoenix area hospital, at the age of 74. Here are some of the most memorable words spoken and shouted by this incredible fighter and activist. RIP, GOAT.
On Achieving Greatness
“If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”
“A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it.”
"I'm the best. I just haven't played yet."
"Turning my back on Malcolm X was one of the mistakes I regret most in my life. I wish I'd been able to tell Malcolm I was sorry."
“The Nation Of Islam taught that white people are devils. I don’t believe that now; in fact, I never really believed that.”
On Being Humble
“At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”
On His Achievements
“I’ve wrestled with alligators; I’ve tussled with a whale; I done handcuffed lightning; and throw thunder in jail.”
“The will must be stronger than the skill.”
“You kill my dog, you better hide your cat."
"If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize.”