Arguably one of the most beloved and betchiest athletes of all time, Muhammad Ali, passed away at the age of 74. Ali was a hard-hitting boxer who didn’t take shit from anyone, described himself as “The Greatest,” and shattered stereotypes en route to being crowned heavyweight boxing champion three times.
And we don’t even have to worry about Ali would want us to remember him: he spelled it out for us.
In his book, The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life’s Journey, Ali said he wished to be remembered as “a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous, and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him, and who helped as many people as he could. As a man who stood up for his beliefs no matter what. As a man who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love.”
Fucking lofty request, dig it. But it gets better.
Ali added, “And if all that’s too much, then I guess I’d settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and a champion of his people. And I wouldn’t even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was.”
SLAY, MUHAMMAD, SLAY.
Outside of his boxing career, Muhammad made headlines for his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War. He was forced to leave boxing for 3 1/2 years, and his friends attest he was willing to go to prison instead of serve. It’s not that Ali was afraid of war, but rather that the enormously successful boxer was a pacifist.
Ali was an Olympic gold medalist, won 56 times in his 21-year professional career, and worked to fight racism in the United States.
At the bottom of it all, Ali was a fucking champion in and out of the boxing ring. Float like a butterfly, sting like a