OKC Thunder notebook: Visiting Muhammad Ali topped Kevin Durant's road trip

A mutual friend arranged the meeting, and Durant visited with Ali and his family at the world champ’s Phoenix home.
By Darnell Mayberry Published: March 9, 2014
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The best part of Kevin Durant’s trip out west might have come Thursday afternoon, when he visited boxing legend Muhammad Ali at his Phoenix-area home before the Thunder’s game against the Suns.

A mutual friend arranged the meeting, and Durant visited with Ali and his family for about an hour, hearing stories of Ali from a sister while soaking up being in the presences of an all-time great.

“It was great to be around him,” Durant said. “Just so much history. Just a guy that changed the whole culture, not just boxing but changed the world just by who he is, what he stood for. It was just good to be around him, just reading up on my history, knowing about him, knowing what he’s done. It was definitely an honor to be in his presence. It was something I’m always going to remember.”

Despite the 72-year-old former champion being severely limited by Parkinson’s disease, Durant said Ali was aware throughout the visit and acknowledged his presence with smiles.

“He could recognize everything that was going on,” Durant said. “But it was an unbelievable experience for me just to be in his presence man. If I ever get the chance to do it again, I’ll go back as well. It’s just something that’s surreal, to meet a guy that’s done so much and paved the way for so many people. It was great to be around him…It’s definitely something that’s going to be with me for the rest of my life.”

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