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NBA world reacts to the passing of boxing legend Muhammad Ali

The world lost one of the all-time greats Friday night as we all learned the sad news that Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74 from a respiratory illness after a 30-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease. The 3-time heavyweight world champion was hospitalized on Thursday as a precaution but his health deteriorated enough to draw family members to his bedside to say their goodbyes.

The family released the following statement Friday night following Ali’s passing:

“After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening,” family spokesperson Bob Gunnell said in a statement. The statement also reads, “Muhammad Ali’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, KY. The Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and support and asks for privacy at this time.”

Ali first gained notoriety when he won the gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and then “shocked the world” when he defeated Sonny Liston in 1964 for the heavyweight boxing title.

In 1967, three years after winning his heavyweight title, Ali was stripped of his license after refusing to fight in the Vietnam War and would not be reinstated for three years. Many believe these could have been the best years of his career.

Despite the forced hiatus, Ali is still known by most as the greatest boxer of all-time. He finished his career with a 56-5 record, including 37 knockouts. He has been named Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated.

As a face for the fight toward equality during the Civil Rights Movement, Muhammad Ali has had an influence on many of the players and coaches throughout the NBA. Here are some of their reactions to the sad news.

The Champ’s amazing moves in the ring and efforts to promote peace and equality all over the world will have their influence on generations to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of Ali in this hard time.

Watch the video below for some amazing highlights of Muhammad Ali:

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