“Terrorists are not following Islam. Killing people and blowing up people and dropping bombs in places and all this is not the way to spread the word of Islam. So people realize now that all Muslims are not terrorists.”

“When I won the Golden Gloves in 1960, that made me realize I had a chance. And when I won at the Olympics, that sealed it: I was the champ.”

“If I said I would knock out Sonny Liston in 1 minute and 49 seconds of the first round, that would hurt the gate.”

“It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.”

“We who follow the teachings of Elijah Muhammad don’t want to be forced to integrate. Integration is wrong. We don’t want to live with the white man; that’s all.”

“All of us are so mixed. My great-grandfather was white.”

“I didn’t want to submit to the army and then, on the day of judgment, have God say to me, ‘Why did you do that?’ This life is a trial, and you realize that what you do is going to be written down for Judgment Day.”

“The only thing that matters is submitting to the will of God.”

“I should be a postage stamp, because that’s the only way I’ll ever get licked. I’m beautiful. I’m fast. I’m so mean I make medicine sick. I can’t possibly be beat.”

“You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned? Wait till I whup George Foreman’s behind.”

“White people just don’t want their slaves to be free. That’s the whole thing.”

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

“It will be a killer, and a chiller, and a thriller, when I get the gorilla in Manila.”

“I said I was ‘The Greatest,’ I never said I was the smartest!”

“Ever since I first came here in 1963 to fight Henry Cooper, I have loved the people of England.”

“I would say things like ‘I am the greatest! I’m pretty! If you talk jive, you’ll drop in five! I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee! I’m pretty!’ When white people heard me talking like this, some said, ‘That black man talks too much. He’s bragging.'”

“A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.”

“I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.”

“I had to prove you could be a new kind of black man. I had to show the world.”

“I know I got it made while the masses of black people are catchin’ hell, but as long as they ain’t free, I ain’t free.”

“My principles are more important than the money or my title.”

“I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.”

“Anywhere I go, there is always an incredible crowd that follows me. In Rome, as I land at the airport, even the men kiss me. I love Rome.”

“All black Americans have slave names. They have white names; names that the slave master has given to them.”

“Don’t feel sorry for me.”

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