In a career that included 56 wins, three world championships, and a gold medal from the 1960 Rome Olympics, Ali demonstrated not just pure power and athleticism, but bravery, integrity, and a generosity that transcends athletics, race, religion, and politics. In addition to his prowess in the ring, Ali dedicated his life to fighting for his own and others' civil rights.
With his legendary charm, wit, and steadfast allegiance to his principles, Ali has become an iconic figure who inspires both those who share his personal views--and those who don't. Beloved and respected around the globe, he had made an impact on many continents. Just before the start of the first Gulf War, for example, Ali negotiated the release of fifteen hostages held in Iraq. He has been honored as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and is a major contributor to numerous humanitarian causes throughout the world, donating both publicly and anonymously. In 2005, The Muhammad Ali Center opened its doors in Louisville, Kentucky, to help young people "find greatness within," by focusing on the themes that have carried Ali so gracefully through his own life: confidence, conviction, dedication, respect, spirituality, and generosity.