To be the greatest, you have to work above and beyond for your entire life to achieve it. Muhammad Ali, was an eloquent, colorful, controversial and brilliant three-time heavyweight boxing champion who was known as much for his social conscience and staunch opposition to the Vietnam War as for his dazzling boxing skills. His legacy is forever marked in the boxing community and in the United States social history.
Ali, who had a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, was taken to a Phoenix area hospital earlier this week where he was being treated for a respiratory issue, according to Yahoo. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on Jan. 17, 1942, in Louisville, Ky., Ali learned to box after his bicycle was stolen when he was 12 years old. He would go on to become known as “The Greatest,” and at his peak in the 1970s was among the most recognizable faces on Earth.
To celebrate his life, here are 10 inspirational quotes from the Greatest of all time.
“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.”
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
“I’m young; I’m handsome; I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.”
“Don’t count the days; make the days count.”
“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it-then I can achieve it.”
“It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
“If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”
“Braggin’ is when a person says something and can’t do it. I do what I say.”
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
“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.”
“I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.”
“I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.”
“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.”
“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.”
“If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”
“I shook up the world. Me! Whee!”
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
“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.”
“A man who has no imagination has no wings.”
“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.”
“I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And throw thunder in jail.”
“Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
“It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
“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.”
“It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.”
“I’m not the greatest, I’m the double greatest.”
“Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.”
Ali’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, family spokesperson Bob Gunnell said in the statement, adding “the Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support and asks for privacy at this time.” One of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing, Ali retired in 1981 after losing to Trevor Berbick in his 61st career bout.
Soon thereafter, Ali – who doctors said had begun showing signs of sluggishness and neurological damage in the 1970s – began receiving treatment for Parkinson’s disease. What is your favorite moment of the champ? Sound off below in the comments section.
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