“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Muhammad Ali wasn’t only a well known popular athlete, his outspoken personality made not only for a dominant force in the ring, but also a impact figure and inspiration to society.
At the age of 18, Ali won gold in the Light Heavyweight Division in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. The boxer would become a household name with victories against Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman under his belt.
Though at the pinnacle point of his career, Ali gave up years of boxing while in a fight with U.S. Government after refusing to be drafted into the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War due to his religious beliefs. Ali would also become a bigger name outside of sports in the 60’s with the Civil Rights Movements and Black Liberation Battles in the 70’s.
Ali’s athletic abilities and support for racial pride made him one of the most talked about athletes of all time.
In the latter end of his life, Ali would become a victim of Parkinson’s disease and later passing away on June 3, 2016 at the age of 74.
*Thumbnail photo by John Rooney of Associated Press