When NPR asked Muhammad Ali to weigh in for its “This I Believe” series, the boxing legend’s response was simple. “I have always believed in myself,” he said, in an essay read on the air by his wife, Lonnie. “And I still do.” Ali credits his supreme self-confidence with taking him to the top. “My will was stronger than their skills,” he says of his boxing opponents. Now, that same belief helps him cope with his greatest nemesis of all—Parkinson’s disease.
“If there was anything that would strike at the core of my confidence in myself, it would be this insidious disease,” he writes. “But my confidence and will to live life as I choose won’t be compromised. … Nothing in life has defeated me. I am still the ‘Greatest.’”