How Muhammad Ali wanted the world to remember him

"A man who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love."

Muhammad Ali in training
The Greatest Muhammad Ali in training in the early 60s. Image Picture Harry Benson/Getty

News of Muhammad Ali’s death at the age of 74 has been met with emotional tributes from the world of entertainment and sport.

The boxing icon, who passed away in an Arizona hospital after suffering respiratory illness, was a man beloved for his sporting greatness and his ability to stand up for something he believed in.

Social media has been flooded with Ali quotes, interview clips and photos of The Greatest in his prime. But somehow it only feels appropriate to give the last work to the man himself.

A widely-circulated tweet from ABC News producer Chris Donovan pulls an extract from Ali’s memoir titled ‘How I Would Like to be Remembered’.

“I would live to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous, and who treated everyone right,” Ali wrote.

“I wouldn’t even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was.”

“As a man who never looked down on those who looked up on him, and who helped as many people as he could. As a man who stood up for his beliefs no matter what. As a man who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love.

“And if all that’s too much, then I guess I’d settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and a champion of his people.

“And I wouldn’t even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was.”

Ali also mused on his own legacy back in 1972 while being interviewed by David Frost, which you can watch below courtesy YouTube.

“I’d like for them to say he took a few cups of love, he took one tablespoon of patience, one teaspoon of generosity, one pint of kindness,” he told the British TV host.

“He took one quart of laughter, one pinch of concern and then he mixed willingness with happiness – he added lots of faith and he stirred it up well.

“Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime and he served it to each and every deserving person he met.”

Farewell to The Greatest.

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn

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