The word ‘legend’ has become overused in today’s world to the point where it almost has no meaning. In reality, a ‘legend’ is someone who not only sets the bar for what is to follow them, but changes the landscape of what came before them. In that vein, the world lost one its last true legends on Friday when Muhammad Ali, the original Greatest of All Time, died at the age of 74 after a decades long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Ali revolutionized what a sports figure was and become the model for every generation of athlete that came after him, not just with his prowess in the boxing ring, but with his unmatched charisma and showmanship outside the ring. His press conferences and interviews became events themselves due to uncanny ability on the microphone, which set the bar for self-promotion, one which has never been duplicated or replicated since.

In many ways he was the original hip-hop artist, due to the way he weaved words and used the English language in a way that became the basis for an entire genre of music, and one that all athletes that followed have tried to emulate. He also became the first athlete to use his star power to bring focus to his political views, as he gave up three of the prime years of his career as a result of his stance against the Vietnam War. In tribute to the Greatest that ever laced up a pair of boxing gloves, here are some of Ali’s greatest and most memorable quotes of all time:

– “Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.”

– “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.”

– “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”

– “Sonny Liston is nothing. The man can’t talk. The man can’t fight. The man needs talking lessons. The man needs boxing lessons. And since he’s gonna fight me, he needs falling lessons.”

– “There are no pleasures in a fight but some of my fights have been a pleasure to win.”

– “If I said I would knock out Sonny Liston in 1 minute and 49 seconds of the first round, that would hurt the gate.”

– “I calculate that I took 20,000 punches, but I earned millions and kept a lot of it. I may talk slow, but my mind is OK.”

– “I’ve seen George Foreman shadow boxing, and the shadow won.”

– “I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.”

– “To make America the greatest is my goal, so I beat the Russian and I beat the Pole. And for the U.S.A. won the medal of gold. The Greeks said, ‘You’re better than the Cassius of old.'”

– “You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned? Wait till I whup George Foreman’s behind.”

– “My way of joking is to tell the truth. That’s the funniest joke in the world.”

– “Joe Frazier is so ugly that when he cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head.”

– “Frazier is so ugly that he should donate his face to the U.S. Bureau of Wild Life.”

– “I should be a postage stamp, because that’s the only way I’ll ever get licked. I’m beautiful. I’m fast. I’m so mean I make medicine sick. I can’t possibly be beat.”

– “I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”

– “I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I’m in a world of my own.”

– “It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am.”

– “It will be a killer, and a chiller, and a thriller, when I get the gorilla in Manila.”

– “My toughest fight was with my first wife.”

– “I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”

– “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.”

– “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”

– “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

– “Ali’s got a left, Ali’s got a right – when he knocks you down, you’ll sleep for the night; and when you lie on the floor and the ref counts to ten, hope and pray that you never meet me again.”

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