death of Muhammad Ali Dwayne The Rock
The Rock has shared his own memories of meeting Muhammad Ali in New Zealand in 1979, posting a picture to Instagram of the movie star as little boy with The Greatest.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson paid tribute to one of his biggest inspirations who died on Saturday (NZ time) aged 74.
Johnson wrote he was in the air flying from Atlanta to London when he got a text from a close friend who told the star that within a few hours “we were going to lose Muhammad”.
The movie star posted: “From hanging out with you in New Zealand as this little punk kid, to years later as a WWE rookie when you whispered to me, “Can you rumble?”, to a few years later when you bestowed upon me “The People’s Champ” moniker.
I will always be grateful for the impact you’ve had on me. Thank you and I’ll miss you. Much love and strength to the Ali family. Rest in love and light Champ. You’ll always be the Greatest of All Time. And pretty.
Ali was the world’s biggest sports star at the time of his visit to Wellington in 1979. The Greatest came simply because an enterprising coach invited him.
Johnson was born in California, but his mother is Samoan. The wrestling star-turned-action hero lived with her in New Zealand for a short time as a child.