For Pete's Sake

Ten of the best Muhammad Ali quotes

Muhammad Ali threw a playful punch toward a photographer while visiting Locke High School in Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 1996.
Muhammad Ali threw a playful punch toward a photographer while visiting Locke High School in Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 1996. Tribune News Services

Muhammad Ali was the greatest — in so many ways.

Ali, who died Friday was a champion in the ring and out of it. As a kid, Ali was the first athlete who made me want to see him compete, as well as watch his interviews on television.

If you don’t know much about Ali, please read this obituary, and also soak up all the memories that are being shared on social media today.

Here are 10 of his best quotes, and he spoke on much more than boxing:

1. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” — Ali’s boxing strategy

2. “I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.”

3. “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.”

4. “Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand, I beat people up.”

5. “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.” When Ali refused to the be drafted for the Vietnam war

6. “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

7. “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”

8. “I’m king of the world, I am the greatest. I shook up the world, I’m king of the world, I’m pretty, I’m pretty, I’m a bad man. I’m king of the world. I’m 22 years old and I ain’t got a mark on my face. I’m pretty” — After beating Sonny Liston in 1964

9. “I’m not the greatest. I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ‘em out, I pick the round. I’m the boldest, the prettiest, the most superior, most scientific, most skillfullest fighter in the ring today.”

10. “I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, 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.”

BONUS: Here is a bonus quote from when Ali visited Kansas City. Randy Covitz wrote a 2005 story on the history of Kemper Arena, and recounted that Ali put on an exhibition a month after defeating George Foreman and reclaiming the heavyweight title.

Ali spared two rounds each with four boxers, but only about 2,000 people attended.

Ali said: “This is a shame. I’m not a month away from winning the world heavyweight championship before a crowd of 100 million people around the world ... and I can’t even fill this chicken coop.”

The tributes to Ali came from all walks of life (and you will see even more quotes):

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