February 11th, 2018 | Updated on February 9th, 2023
Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) was an American professional boxer and cultural icon. He was widely considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all time and was known for his quick footwork, powerful punches, and charismatic personality. Ali won the world heavyweight championship three times, and his legendary fights against opponents such as Joe Frazier and George Foreman are still remembered and celebrated today.
In addition to his success in the ring, Ali was known for his activism and his commitment to various causes, including his opposition to the Vietnam War and his support for the civil rights movement. He was a polarizing figure during the 1960s and 1970s, but over time he came to be seen as a symbol of courage and a champion of social justice. After retiring from boxing, Ali devoted himself to philanthropy and to promoting peace and understanding around the world.
Despite his controversial and often divisive image, Ali is remembered today as a cultural icon and one of the greatest athletes of all time. He died on June 3, 2016, at the age of 74, but his legacy lives on, inspiring people around the world to pursue their dreams and stand up for what they believe in.
Here are some of Muhammad Ali’s most memorable and inspiring quotes:
1. It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.
2. It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
3. If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.
4. Braggin’ is when a person says something and can’t do it. I do what I say.
5. I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
9. I’m young; I’m handsome; I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.
10. Don’t count the days; make the days count.
11. If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it. Jesse Jackson said this as early as 1983, according to the Associated Press, and Ali used it in his 2004 book.
12. I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
13. I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.
14. 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.
15. He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
16. A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
17. If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.
18. I shook up the world. Me! Whee!
19. It’s not bragging if you can back it up.
20. 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.
21. It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.
22. I’m not the greatest, I’m the double greatest.
23. Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.
24. I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
25. 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.
26. A man who has no imagination has no wings.
27. He’s (Sonny Liston) too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty like me!
28. I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I’m in a world of my own.
29. I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And throw thunder in jail.
30. Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.
31. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
32. I am the greatest.
33. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
34. I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
35. The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
36. He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
37. I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be.
38. I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me.
39. Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
40. A man who has no imagination has no wings.
These quotes reflect Ali’s confident, charismatic, and rebellious spirit, and demonstrate his commitment to standing up for what he believed in, both in and out of the ring.