Muhammad Ali was beyond fashion, yet his style and grace throughout his life made him a fashion icon as much as a sports, societal and humanitarian one.
Ali, who died Friday at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease, rarely appeared at fashion events, preferring to stick to sports or charitable occasions. But his name continued to resonate in fashion long after he retired from the ring in 1981. On November 19, 2013, brand management firm Authentic Brands Group acquired majority ownership of the estate of Muhammad Ali — Muhammad Ali Enterprises — from CORE Media Group. ABG, which now owns the intellectual property of the Muhammad Ali assets, manages it in partnership with the Ali family. The firm also owns the global rights, which includes the largest library of photographic images of Ali; a moving image and video collection, and trademark phrases including “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” and “The Greatest of All Time.”
Jamie Salter, chairman and chief executive officer of ABG, said, “This is a sad day for everybody in the world. One-third of the world know who Muhammad Ali was. He helped change the world.”
Salter also noted the charitable contributions of Ali over his lifetime. “He was the greatest athlete of all time, and he did it with a political and charitable standpoint, which is amazing because you don’t usually get all three [at the same time]….That’s why we will love Muhammad Ali forever.”
Through ABG’s management of Ali’s IP assets, the Ali name continues to live on. Under Armour currently offers an extensive line of Muhammad Ali-branded and inspired products. Muhammad Ali products are also available at luxury apparel firm Philipp Plein.
ABG, along with Ali’s family, are also major supporters of The Muhammad Ali Center, in Louisville, Ky. The mission of the center, a museum, is to preserve and share the ideals of Ali, such as his six core principles: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect and spirituality. The center’s web site has a quote from Ali: “For many years I have dreamed of creating a place to share, teach and inspire people to be their best and to pursue their dreams.” The interactive museum offers educational programming and special events to inspire young adults and visitors to “pursue greatness in their own lives, communities and countries.”