NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West got to know Muhammad Ali long before he was a heavyweight champion. West played for USA Basketball in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, when Ali was a young, up-and-coming boxer named Cassius Clay.
"I had heard of him a little bit, this kind of teenage sensation," West said. "Once you got there, my goodness, you could hear him coming from a mile away. A big smile, big personality, even then before he became a world champion. He was a magnificent person."
West saw Ali fight professionally several times and said: "I loved that guy. I really did.
"Being around him, you almost felt like a God-like presence," West said. "You really did. He had it. He had it."
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