Bucs' Mike Evans: What Muhammad Ali means to me
When boxing legend Muhammad Ali passed away at age 74 late Friday night, Bucs receiver Mike Evans was one of the first players to write about it, posting a photo at 12:40 a.m. Saturday of a tattoo of Ali on his forearm. "RIP Ali one of the greatest and most inspirational athletes of all time!" he wrote.
Evans took a few minutes Saturday to talk about Ali and why he's meant so much to him as an athlete and a young man.
"I'm a big, big boxing fan. When I was younger, my grandma used to have a library card, and I would go with her. I used to always get boxing books and read them. Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis were my favorites, even though I didn't get to see them fight. But looking him up, I loved the trash he used to talk. He stood for a cause, stood for African-American people. He didn't do it like other black athletes. He didn't keep quiet. He let it be known that he was the best, and he really transcended sports in my mind.
"All the trash-talkers in every sport, it's because of Muhammad Ali. I'm sure nobody was talking the trash he did before his time. Nobody did that. He had an impact and people don't know it. He's one of the best boxers of all time, and one of the most inspirational athletes, giving people motivation. I watched a Youtube video, like a motivational video, from Gorilla Productions, it's like nine minutes and I watch it before every game. I've been doing that since college.
"Ironically enough, I got the tattoo like a month ago. Everybody knows that picture. It's one of the most famous pictures in sports history, from when he knocked out Sonny Liston. I liked that picture. It means something to me. He had that fire in him, that will to be the best and stand up for a cause. I had seen a shirt -- my tattoo artist was wearing a shirt one day and I was like 'Man, I want that tattoo.' He did it for me. It was ironic for me that he passed and I just got that."