He was “The Greatest.” He was “The Prettiest.” He was so fast he once “turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”

He was given the name Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. when he was born, but Muhammad Ali is who he had always been. Funny, witty, athletic, powerful. So great even, that nearly three years banned from the sport he dominated was not enough to stop him from coming back and becoming champion.

In this montage of EBONY and JET covers and rare footage of Ali, take a look back at his glory days, the days he made us believe that a human being could “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”