Muhammad Ali represented the epitome of black excellence.
Ali, who died Friday, used his skill, strength and charisma to climb his way to the top and earn recognition as a world class boxing and civil rights champion. But part of what made Ali's unprecedented success so meaningful is that he proved that a black man could be held by no boundaries; that if he was committed, he could break them all.
“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize," Ali once declared. "But get used to me -- black, confident, cocky."
It was Ali's typical boastful behavior, which many admired because he always backed it up. He dreamed big and delivered on his word, replacing doubt with delight. Because of this, he stood as a hero for so many black men around the globe. They admired him for all he inspired them to achieve. After all, this is why representation matters.
Many of these men went on to achieve great success themselves, but have always been conscious enough to give credit where it's due. We've rounded up quotes from eight icons -- from President Barack Obama to Prince -- who have weighed in on the heavyweight's timeless and inspiring influence. May we all be more like Ali.