While the Bay Area boxing community has been mourning the loss of the Greatest of All Time boxer Muhammad Ali, basketball stars Steph Curry and LeBron James both took a moment to share their thoughts on the man and the legend ahead of their second NBA Finals matchup Sunday.
Curry tells the Associated Press, "Ali was the example of how you use your platform and speak what you believe no matter what people will say, and [I] look at him [with] a sense of confidence in that regard, for sure."
James had a bit more to say, crediting Ali with being the first pro sports figure to gain international recognition as a personality. "Today I can go to China and all over the world and people know my name and know my face. I give all credit to Muhammad Ali because he was the first icon," James said. "He is the GOAT. He's the greatest of all time and it has zero to do with his accomplishments inside the ring."
James added, "It's also gratifying to know that a guy, one man, would sacrifice so much in his individual life knowing that it would better the next generation of men and women after him."
Also, Warriors executive board member and former Los Angeles Lakers player Jerry West tells the AP that he first met Ali as a teenager at the 1960 Olympic Games. "I had heard of him a little bit, this kind of teenage sensation," West says. "Once you got there, my goodness, you could hear him coming from a mile away."
West also says that Ali was singularly important as a public figure. "Certain people are courageous. He was very courageous in doing what no other athlete probably would have dared to have done, in particular a black athlete at that time," West tells the AP. "To me, he's inspired the people to look at inequalities in this world and I think some of the things he did, he just changed the perceptions of people. He was a magnificent person. I loved that guy. I really did."