He was that rarest of figures, a sportsman that transcended his sport. Muhammad Ali’s enormous impact on global society is evident in the flow of tributes from all corners of the globe and from all walks of life.
From the world of boxing:
Bob Arum, who promoted 26 of Ali’s fights: “He’s the most transforming figure of my time, certainly. He did more to change race relations and the views of people than even Martin Luther King. It was a privilege and an honor for me to know him and associate with him.”
Don King, promoter of “Rumble in the Jungle and “Thriller in Mailla”: “Without question his legacy is one that he defied the odds because he stood up for what he believed in and when he was put to the test he took personal harm rather than go against his beliefs and what he stood for.”
Champion boxer Oscar De La Hoya: “Muhammad Ali is a legend and one of the world’s most celebrated athletes, the fighter who ushered in the golden era of boxing and put the sport on the map. He paved the way for professional fighters, including myself, elevating boxing to become a sport watched in millions of households around the world.”
Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao: “We lost a giant today. Boxing benefited from Muhammad Ali’s talents but not nearly as much as mankind benefited from his humanity. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Ali family. May God bless them.”
Across the sporting world:
Olympic swimmer Janet Evans: “Passing the Olympic torch to Muhammad to light the cauldron at the Atlanta Games in 1996 was the defining moment of my career, and a memory I will treasure forever, as much as any of the medals I won. As Olympians, our role is to inspire others to achieve their dreams, and no person has ever lived that role more than Muhammad Ali.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver: “Muhammad Ali transcended sports with his outsized personality and dedication to civil rights and social justice. He was an inspirational presence at several major NBA events and was deeply admired by so many throughout the league. While we are deeply saddened by his loss, Muhammad Ali’s legacy lives on in every athlete who takes a stand for what he or she believes.”
US President Barack Obama: “Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it.”
Civil rights campaigner Rev Jesse Jackson: “He was a champion in the ring, but, more than that, a hero beyond the ring. When champions win, people carry them off the field on their shoulders. When heroes win, people ride on their shoulders. We rode on Muhammad Ali’s shoulders.”
Former US President Bill Clinton: Hillary and I are saddened by the passing of Muhammad Ali From the day he claimed the Olympic gold medal in 1960, boxing fans across the world knew they were seeing a blend of beauty and grace, speed and strength that may never be matched again.”