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Muhammad Ali's impact on sports—Is he the greatest athlete of all time?

“I’m out to conquer immortality”- are the words that Muhammad Ali said during the days when he was considered to be an unbeatable force. The world has been all the more smaller with the absence of Ali’s wisdom and omnipotence.

While it’s been exactly 2956 days since Ali’s passing in 2016, he continues to be a beacon of inspiration to the current generation of boxing stars as well as sportsmen worldwide. As such, the legendary WR for the San Francisco 49ers, Jerry Rice also hopped on the Ali fandom train and paid an endearing tribute to the man, the myth, the legend, and called him the greatest of all time.

Jerry Rice and his song of praise for Muhammad Ali

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On 9th July, Jerry Rice took to Instagram to share an iconic photo of Muhammad Ali as a sign of respect and a tribute to the legendary sports figure who passed away back in 2016. Undoubtedly, one of the pioneers of sports rests in his grave, while NFL legends like Jerry Rice and countless fans still think of him every passing day.

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A post shared by Jerry Rice (@jerryrice)

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Rice paid his respects to Ali and his impact on the modern-day generation and posted an image of him in the ring. The former WR captioned it with, “THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME!! 🐐” With his passing having occurred 8 years ago, the void he left behind in his wake still perturbs the minds like Jerry Rice as there has never been and probably never will be yet another sporting phenom like Muhammad Ali. With all that said, let’s take a brief look at Ali’s legacy today and see what made him so great, both inside and outside the ring.

Remembering Muhammad Ali’s long list of milestones today

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Though Ali wasn’t too fast of a boxer, his immense speed and footwork set him apart from most of the hard hitters since their target would constantly be on the move. His record of 56 wins and 5 losses with 37 knockouts wasn’t too major of a feat but the quality of his opponents during his time and the power of Ali’s words on the mic are still unmatched to this very day.

More importantly than his boxing career, Ali is known for his social opinions on black pride and black resistance towards white domination and later became one of the leading powers in the fight against indiscrimination. The list of awards that Ali received is innumerable but some that stand out are- the NAACP Image Award- President’s Award (2009), BET Humanitarian Award (2002), and Bambi- Millenium Award (2003) among many others. Ali’s poetry, the fire that he emboldened, and the thunder that he carried in his gloves are all the symbols with which we remember the mighty athlete today, who is widely renowned as the GOAT that surpasses all the categories of sports.