Muhammad Ali's Greatest Quotes

The 'Louisville Lip' knew just what to say
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2016 6:20 AM CDT
The Best Quotes of Muhammad Ali
In this March 29, 1967, file photo, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, center left, and Dr. Martin Luther King speak to reporters.    (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – Muhammad Ali, who died Friday at age 74, wasn't known as the Louisville Lip for nothing. The man whose quick hands and feet stunned opponents inside the ring—and won him three heavyweight-boxing championships—showed just as much verbal dexterity for the microphones. Some of his best quotes, per the New York Times, the Guardian, and USA Today:

Before the 1974 George Foreman Fight

  • "Float like a butterfly sting like a bee—his hands can’t hit what his eyes can't see."
  • "I done something new for this fight. I wrestled with an alligator. I tussled with a whale. I handcuffed lightning, I thrown thunder in jail. Only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I'm so mean I make medicine sick."

In refusing to be drafted into the Vietnam war
  • "I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong."
  • "Shoot them for what? They never called me n-----. They never lynched me."

In converting to Islam and changing his name
  • "Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name—it means beloved of God, and I insist people use it when people speak to me and of me."
  • "What’s my name, fool? What’s my name?" he said in 1967 while fighting Ernie Terrell, who refused to recognize Ali's name change.

And more
  • "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."
  • "At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I've found, don’t get very far."
  • "Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong."
  • "Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you're going to be right."
(Read more obituary stories.)

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