Muhammad Ali appears on his 40th Sports Illustrated cover in the first issue in SI history to feature the same athlete on both the front and back covers.
Muhammad Ali is featured on his 40th Sports Illustrated cover this week in an issue that is also an SI first. The Greatest is the first athlete in SI history to appear on both the front and back covers of the same magazine.
The issue saluting the former heavyweight boxing champion includes remembrances from writers and photographers who covered his storied career, tributes to his life by SI’s Charles Pierce and Richard O’Brien and an abridged version of a first-person essay Ali wrote for SI when he was 22 years old.
Ali died on Friday at the age of 74 after entering the hospital on June 2 to be treated for a respiratory condition. He died with his family at his side as his conditioned worsened.
Born Cassius Clay, Ali is widely considered one of the greatest boxers of all time. His legacy in and out of the ring, as a three-time heavyweight champion and powerful activist, made him one of the most iconic and well-known Americans ever.
The only athlete to have been featured on more SI covers than Ali is Michael Jordan, who has appeared on the magazine’s front 50 times.
SI’s Muhammad Ali vault includes each one of his covers along with his greatest quotes and SI’s best photos of the great fighter.
• SI VAULT: Muhammad Ali remembered