As the world mourns the death of Muhammad Ali, LeBron James wants to take the time to remember his remarkable legacy that had little to do with his work in the ring. With James still in his self-imposed social media blackout, ESPN's Chris Broussard caught up with the Cleveland Cavaliers star forward to get his thoughts on Ali once initial reports regarding the health of the boxing legend surfaced.
"When I was a kid, I was amazed by what Ali did in the ring," LeBron told ESPN.com. "As I got older and started to read about him and watch things about him, I started to realize what he did in the ring was secondary to what he meant outside of the ring -- just his influence, what he stood for."
James also touched on how Ali, among others, were the ones who paved the way for African-American athletes.
"It's what he did outside of the ring, what he believed in, what he stood for, along with Jim Brown and Oscar Robertson, Lew Alcindor -- obviously, who became Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] -- Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson. Those guys stood for something. He's part of the reason why African-Americans today can do what we do in the sports world. We're free. They allow us to have access to anything we want. It's because of what they stood for, and Muhammad Ali was definitely the pioneer for that."
The "greatest ever" title gets thrown around a lot, but Ali truly embodied it—in more ways than one.
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