The late Muhammad Ali will grace the cover of next week’s issue of Sports Illustrated magazine for the 40th time. The boxing legend died last Friday at the age of 74 from respiratory issues related to a decades-long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.
The three-time world heavyweight’s latest cover issue hits stands Wednesday, June 8. Michael Jordan is the only athlete to have fronted Sports Illustrated more times than Ali, with a total of 42 covers.
The cover portrait was shot by photographer Neil Leifer as Ali trained at the 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach, Florida, on October 9, 1970.
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali started boxing at age 12 — and ultimately became known as one of world’s most successful boxers and greatest athletes.
Ali converted to Islam in 1964 and changed his name to Muhammed Ali after becoming affiliated with the Nation of Islam. His political activism and charity inspired millions throughout his life and touched the hearts of fans around the world.
“Muhammad Ali was a singular force of athletics, humanitarianism and social equality unlike anyone in our history,” Sports Illustrated editor Paul Fichtenbaum said in a statement. “He was a fighter, and a champion, yet many of his most important victories came outside the ring. His legacy defines the very best of who we are and aspire to be.”
Here a few of Muhammad Ali’s most memorable SI covers.