Romper

This Muhammad Ali Quote On How He Wants To Be Remembered & It's All About His Career

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The news of heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali's death on Friday night was sudden. But Ali's career and public life spanned decades for most people and everyone will have a different story. Some will remember the athlete, others as a bastion of civil rights in America when the country needed to hear some hard truths. He was a celebrity — everyone on every social platform will remember something. It's 2016 after all. But the most important thing to remember is maybe this one Muhammad Ali quote about his legacy. At least, I would hope my loved ones (and my legions of fans after Taylor Swift and I finally lay down that track), would remember what I wanted to say to the world before I left it. Who doesn't?

Ali wrote in his 2013 autobiography, The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life's Journey (summer read alert!) that, actually, he did want to be remembered first and foremost as a champion. But it's more complicated than that, because that's how life is. He wrote:

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Former heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali throws a punch as he poses for photographers on his arrival at the Uptown Theatre in Washington, DC, for the premiere of 'Ali', the screen biography of his life, 17 December, 2001. Actor Will Smith portrays Ali as the controversial boxer, who started his career as Cassius Clay before converting to Islam and changing his name. AFP PHOTO/Mike THEILER (Photo credit should read MIKE THEILER/AFP/Getty Images)

In fact, in the wake of his death there will be an overload of information about the man circling around the Internet and many different ways to interpret his life. But if he really would like to be remembered for his feelings and values outside of the gym, it might be useful to just go straight to the source. As a world famous athlete and outspoken public figure, Ali has been involved with about ten books about his life. Some he has written, according to the credits, himself, like The Soul of a Butterfly or 2015's The Greatest: My Own Story. On other biographies he has an authorship credit, as well, so if you're really into hearing how the man himself tells his story, you could plow through a lot of literature on the heavyweight champion.

His life is more than just boxing; according to The New York Times, he also tried to open a fast food restaurant during lulls. Ali's story is interesting — this is the guy then President Jimmy Carter considered as an ambassador overseas for America.

It sounds like there  are lots of good Ali stories to tell, too many for 140 characters. It might be worth listening to or reading his own words about his life really went down and what he thinks is most important.