Each year is filled with its fair amount of joy and sorrow, but 2016 has plucked numerous once-in-a-lifetime visionaries from our lives in just the first six months of the year. Muhammad Ali, arguably the most impactful of them all, passed away on June 3rd, several weeks after musical virtuoso Prince.
For the Purple One, The Greatest was exactly that: his hero.
Prince met Ali for the first time in 1997 during a press conference for a concert called The World Healing Honors; the inaugural event for “the Muhammad Ali World Healing Project, which will raise funds for existing charities and organizations working to eliminate bigotry and prejudice around the globe,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
During the press conference, which you can watch an excerpt from above, Prince discussed how he came about helping on Ali’s project and his response to the request.
“My friend… called me a couple of days ago and asked me. He said, ‘Muhammad wants you to’ — and I said ‘Yes,’; I didn’t even let him finish. He could have said, ‘mow the lawn,’ and I would have been down with it. Muhammad’s my hero. He has been since I was a child.”