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Word for Word, 'Ali Rap' Tracks 'The Greatest'

A 1963 photo captures The Greatest in full voice.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A 1963 photo captures The Greatest in full voice.

Ali Rap collects more than 300 quotable moments from the life of The Greatest, beginning with the days of the brash young fighter Cassius Clay and following him through trials and tribulations, victory and defeat as he grows into Muhammad Ali, the global icon.

The book is put together by graphic designer George Lois, who is a legend himself in the advertising world for campaigns dating to the 1960s. He gave the world "I want my Maypo" and later, "I want my MTV." He also invented the mythical nauga, source of -- you guessed it -- naugahyde.

He also created a series of iconic cover designs for Esquire magazine, including a memorable image of Ali as St. Sebastian, pierced by the arrows of his critics (and perhaps outrageous fortune, as well).

Lois, a Brooklyn native, met Ali when the fighter was just a young Golden Gloves champion on his way to fame at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Their friendship has spanned nearly 50 years.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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