Today marks what would have been the 75th birthday of one of the 20th century’s most significant and celebrated sports figures, Muhammad Ali.


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Born Cassius Clay Jr in 1942 in the Southern U.S. state of Kentucky, Ali began his rise to fame in 1960 when he won a gold medal in light heavyweight division of the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Four years later, he truly shot to superstardom after winning the WBA, WBC and lineal heavyweight titles. It was also during the late 1960s that he changed his name to Muhammed Ali, describing “Cassius Clay” as his “slave name”.

While mostly recognised for his efforts in the boxing ring, Ali was the voice behind quotes such as “float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee”. He was also a keen activist for black Americans’ civil rights, and strongly opposed the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam conflict, making him an icon of counterculture.

Ali hung up his boxing gloves in 1981, and in 1984 was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a result of decades spent in the boxing ring. Over the next 32 years, he yet again showed his fighting spirit in combatting the disease, until he passed away on June 3, 2016. On average, sufferers live between seven and 14 years after diagnosis.

To celebrate his birthday, Bored Panda has found a selection of photographs to document Ali’s remarkable life as an athlete, an activist, and an inspiration to athletes and non-athletes alike all over the world.

#1 Ali With Daughter Maryum. February 1970

Ali With Daughter Maryum. February 1970

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Alexandra Lee 1 year ago

Thus is the cutest, showing a gentle side of a vicious fighter.

#2 Muhammad Ali With The Jacksons

Muhammad Ali With The Jacksons

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Alexandra Lee 1 year ago

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Who knew the Jackson boys' had an odd hobby of torturing wrestlers?

#3 Muhammad Ali With The Beatles

Muhammad Ali With The Beatles

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Emre 1 year ago

I love his sense of humor

#4 Muhammad Ali Spends Some Quality Time With His Daughter Maryum, 1974

Muhammad Ali Spends Some Quality Time With His Daughter Maryum, 1974

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#5 Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali Stands Over Fallen Challenger Sonny Liston, Shouting And Gesturing Shortly After Dropping Liston With A Short Hard Right To The Jaw On May 25, 1965, In Lewiston, Maine. The Bout Lasted Only One Minute Into The First Round.

Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali Stands Over Fallen Challenger Sonny Liston, Shouting And Gesturing Shortly After Dropping Liston With A Short Hard Right To The Jaw On May 25, 1965, In Lewiston, Maine. The Bout Lasted Only One Minute Into The First Round.

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Emre 1 year ago

Greatest and the most iconic photos of boxing

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#6 Perspiration Beads On The Face Of Muhammad Ali, Shown In Training For His Fight With Sonny Liston At Lewiston, Maine, 1965

Perspiration Beads On The Face Of Muhammad Ali, Shown In Training For His Fight With Sonny Liston At Lewiston, Maine, 1965

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Emre 1 year ago

No pain no gain...This is what he taught all of us.

#7 Pope John Paul II Looks On As Muhammad Ali, Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Signs His Autograph In Vatican City, June 6, 1982

Pope John Paul II Looks On As Muhammad Ali, Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Signs His Autograph In Vatican City, June 6, 1982

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#8 Muhammad Ali At London's Heathrow Airport In 1977 When He Left For New York With His Daughters

Muhammad Ali At London's Heathrow Airport In 1977 When He Left For New York With His Daughters

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#9 Boxer Cassius Clay Is Shown In 1954

Boxer Cassius Clay Is Shown In 1954

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#10 Young Muhammad Ali Points To A Sign He Wrote In His Dressing Room Before His Fight Against Archie Moore In Los Angeles, Predicting He’d Knock Moore Out In The Fourth Round, Which He Went On To Do

Young Muhammad Ali Points To A Sign He Wrote In His Dressing Room Before His Fight Against Archie Moore In Los Angeles, Predicting He’d Knock Moore Out In The Fourth Round, Which He Went On To Do

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#11 Sylvester Stallone, Who Was Inspired To Write Rocky After Seeing The Muhammad Ali/Chuck Wepner Fight In 1975, Meets Ali In The Locker Room To Wish Him Luck Before The Fight

Sylvester Stallone, Who Was Inspired To Write Rocky After Seeing The Muhammad Ali/Chuck Wepner Fight In 1975, Meets Ali In The Locker Room To Wish Him Luck Before The Fight

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#12 Muhammad Ali Behind The Wheel On April 2, 1963.

Muhammad Ali Behind The Wheel On April 2, 1963.

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Abbass Muhammad 1 year ago

My birthday.

#13 Muhammad Ali Waits Patiently As A Young Fan, Six-Year-Old Manuel De La Sierra Sets His Camera For Another Picture Outside Houston's Domed Stadium, Feb. 4, 1967

Muhammad Ali Waits Patiently As A Young Fan, Six-Year-Old Manuel De La Sierra Sets His Camera For Another Picture Outside Houston's Domed Stadium, Feb. 4, 1967

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#14 Muhammad Ali And Robin Williams Practiced Their Punches At Celebrity Fight Night XII, Arizona, March 18, 2006

Muhammad Ali And Robin Williams Practiced Their Punches At Celebrity Fight Night XII, Arizona, March 18, 2006

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#15 Elvis And Ali In The Kings Hilton Hotel Suite In 1973 Where Elvis Presented Ali A Special One Of A Kind Robe Designed Just Like Famous Stage Jumpsuits

Elvis And Ali In The Kings Hilton Hotel Suite In 1973 Where Elvis Presented Ali A Special One Of A Kind Robe Designed Just Like Famous Stage Jumpsuits

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Emre 1 year ago

Kings have left the building... :(

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#16 Clay’s Handlers Held Him Back After He Beat Liston And Was Announced As The New Heavyweight Champion Of The World

Clay’s Handlers Held Him Back After He Beat Liston And Was Announced As The New Heavyweight Champion Of The World

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#17 Muhammad Ali Receives A Replacement Gold Medal For One He Lost Many Years Ago At The 1996 Centennial Olympic Games In Atlanta, Georgia

Muhammad Ali Receives A Replacement Gold Medal For One He Lost Many Years Ago At The 1996 Centennial Olympic Games In Atlanta, Georgia

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#18 Muhammad Ali With Stevie Wonder

Muhammad Ali With Stevie Wonder

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#19 Ali And His Family In The RV Heading From Deer Lake To Washington, DC, For A Special White House Visit To See US President Jimmy Carter, 1977

Ali And His Family In The RV Heading From Deer Lake To Washington, DC, For A Special White House Visit To See US President Jimmy Carter, 1977

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#20 Muhammad Ali Is A Happy Young Man In His Dressing Room After Knocking Out Archie Moore In The Exact Round He Predicted He Would, The Fourth, At Los Angeles, November 17, 1962

Muhammad Ali Is A Happy Young Man In His Dressing Room After Knocking Out Archie Moore In The Exact Round He Predicted He Would, The Fourth, At Los Angeles, November 17, 1962

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#21 Muhammad Ali, Strikes A Familiar Pose As He Shouts, "I Am The Greatest," As He Leaves The Ring, Arms Raised, Following His Defeat Of Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Sonny Liston In Miami Beach, Florida, February 25, 1964

Muhammad Ali, Strikes A Familiar Pose As He Shouts, "I Am The Greatest," As He Leaves The Ring, Arms Raised, Following His Defeat Of Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Sonny Liston In Miami Beach, Florida, February 25, 1964

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#22 Spray Flies From The Head Of Challenger Joe Frazier As Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali Connects With A Right In The Ninth Round Of Their Title Fight In Manila, Philippines, October 1, 1975. Ali Won The Fight On A Decision To Retain The Title

Spray Flies From The Head Of Challenger Joe Frazier As Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali Connects With A Right In The Ninth Round Of Their Title Fight In Manila, Philippines, October 1, 1975. Ali Won The Fight On A Decision To Retain The Title

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#23 Muhammad Ali Is Photographed Carrying Then Wife, Sonji Clay, Over The Threshold After Their Wedding, 1967

Muhammad Ali Is Photographed Carrying Then Wife, Sonji Clay, Over The Threshold After Their Wedding, 1967

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#24 Muhammad Ali Gets A Pinch To The Cheek From His 18-Year-Old Daughter Maryum "May May" At The Hard Rock Cafe In New York, May 12, 1988

Muhammad Ali Gets A Pinch To The Cheek From His 18-Year-Old Daughter Maryum "May May" At The Hard Rock Cafe In New York, May 12, 1988

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#25 Muhammad Ali, Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Toys With The Finely Combed Hair Of Television Sports Commentator Howard Cosell Before The Start Of The Olympic Boxing Trials, Aug. 7, 1972, In West Point, NY

Muhammad Ali, Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Toys With The Finely Combed Hair Of Television Sports Commentator Howard Cosell Before The Start Of The Olympic Boxing Trials, Aug. 7, 1972, In West Point, NY

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