To say Muhammad Ali had a way with words is something of an understatement.
His press conferences and interviews redefined the way people saw boxers – and to a larger extent, professional athletes in general – and made sportswriters everywhere reconsider their own turns of phrase.
And while Ali was as known for the comical insults he dished to opponents as he was for the self-aggrandizing brags he tossed out about himself, he was also a fiercely intelligent and introspective man. Here are some of his best quotes that are appropriate for everyone, whether or not they consider themselves The Greatest.
I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’
Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.
Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don’t let yourself believe it will happen to you.
Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.
Don’t count the days; make the days count.
A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
The man who has no imagination has no wings.
There are no pleasures in a fight, but some of my fights have been a pleasure to win.
Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.
Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe.
The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.
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. We all have to take defeats in life.
My soul has grown over the years, and some of my views have changed. As long as I am alive, I will continue to try to understand more because the work of the heart is never done.
Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.