Lebron James remembered Muhammad Ali in a press conference Saturday, before Game Two of the NBA Finals, noting the late boxer’s fighting prowess was “only 20 percent of what made him as great as he was.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers star praised Ali’s impact as an activist and a trailblazing black athlete, as well as his willingness to remain firm in his beliefs, even if it meant being stripped of his title belt for refusing to fight in Vietnam.
Per Yahoo, James placed Ali in the company of greats like Jim Brown, Jackie Robinson, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, saying, “For an athlete like myself today, without Muhammad Ali, I wouldn’t be sitting up here talking to you guys.”
He added: “I give all credit to Muhammad Ali because he was the first icon. He is the GOAT — he is the greatest of all time — and it has zero to do with his accomplishments inside the ring.”
Ali died Friday evening after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 74.