Yesterday, the world lost a heavyweight boxing prodigy. At age 74, three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer Muhammad Ali died due to respiratory complications.

Widely regarded as ‘The Greatest,' the sports world will never forget what Ali did and all he accomplished. Fortunately enough in his time, Ali gave some of this love back to sports legends he enjoyed watching on the basketball court.

About five years ago, Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki led his team to the 2011 NBA Finals and won, earning their first title. Ali knew how much this championship meant to someone as hard working and dedicated as Nowitzki, so he made sure to show him he was proud.

dirk nowitzki
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview a few years ago, Nowitzki was asked what he received from the boxing legend in a delivered package.

“A boxing glove with the inscription: ‘You are the greatest,'” said Nowitzki. “Please don't ask me immediately about the political meaning of the gift. I was simply happy and sent Ali a golden basketball with a similar inscription.”

It's great to see Ali was a big advocate for an NBA legend. In his passing, players like Nowitzki are sure to remember what Ali contributed to the sports world. Here are just a few highlights of his amazing career.