Former Auburn and current Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton idolized Muhammad Ali. On Sunday, Newton wrote a touching tribute about the legendary boxer, who died Friday night at 74 years old.
Newton’s tribute, which can be found on The Players’ Tribune, was short and sweet, but powerful nonetheless. Last season’s NFL MVP described the deep impact Ali had on the quarterback’s life and also told a story of a surprise birthday call he received from the champ.
“One of the most memorable moments in my life — one that I will always cherish — was when I received a surprise birthday call from Muhammad Ali,” Newton wrote. “I could not have been more in shock and in awe.”
Newton shares some similarities as an athlete with Ali, as he has an unmatched swagger and confidence about himself on the field. Newton is just one of many athletes who was influenced by Ali’s accomplishments between the ropes and outside of them.