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Every so often, an athlete comes along who is truly larger than life. Someone who can captivate the people with not only their skill and dedication to perfecting their craft, but also with their personality. In basketball, of course, we’ve seen guys like Michael Jordan and LeBron James become so much more than just players on the court. Serena Williams’ impact extends well beyond the world of tennis, and, love him or hate him, Tom Brady has become a figurehead of the NFL. But there is no athlete who has been more influential in sports and beyond than the great Muhammad Ali.
Ali is not only widely considered the greatest boxer to ever step into the ring, but he also exuded more swagger and charisma than any other professional athlete ever. He talked a big game, but he always backed it up. He was as polarizing as he was endearing; whether you loved or hated him, you had to respect him. Ali’s death in 2016 not only left a void in the boxing world, but in other worlds, too.
In honor of the two year anniversary of his passing (June 3), it’s important that we not forget all of the things that made him such a sports and cultural icon. As dedicated as Ali was to boxing, he was just as dedicated to speaking his mind on social justice issues and standing up for what he believed in. Even after being stripped of his world heavyweight title and having his boxing license suspended for refusing to be drafted into the U.S. military, he never backed down on his values. His strength was always on display, both inside and outside of the ring
Muhammad Ali’s life has been well documented, but there are some important tidbits that may not be known by everyone. Here is our list of 25 things you may not have known about Muhammad Ali.