The Time Prince and Muhammad Ali Met

June 6, 2016 Updated: June 6, 2016

The year 2016, as many have noted, has been a harsh one for celebrity deaths.

So it’s only fitting that many were sharing photos of Muhammad Ali, who died on Friday, meeting with singer Prince, who died in April.

The two met in 1997, with Prince spoofing Ali’s “magic tricks” at the White House.

After the meeting, Prince—who was going by the moniker “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince”—revealed that he was in awe of Ali.

“My friend Londell McMillan called me a couple of days ago and asked me. He said, ‘Muhammad wants you to’—and I said ‘Yes,'” Prince said at the time, MailOnline reported.

“I didn’t even let him finish. He could have said, ‘Mow the lawn,’ and I would have been down with it.”

He added: “Muhammad’s my hero. He has been since I was a child. As you can see, he’s such an inspiration to many people.”

When the two met, David Clark, the man who introduced the two, “He saw Muhammad at the same time Muhammad saw him, and Muhammad said ‘Prince!'” he told the BBC.


“But his daughter, Hana, said ‘His name is The Artist, and you have to call him The Artist—or I will get him to call you Cassius Clay.’ Then Prince almost jumped into his arms,” Clark said.

Clark said the two bonded over “magic.”

“Muhammad told Prince he wanted to show him a special trick—Muhammad then got up and pretended to levitate. Prince said ‘That’s nothing’ and jumped up on the table and pretended to be doing the same trick,” he said. “They were like two kids. These were two men who were trailblazers. The ‘authenticness’ of each impressed the other.”

Prince, an African-American from Minneapolis, looked up to Ali, and it appears Ali was familiar with Prince’s music.

“Muhammad seemed to know Prince’s music, and from what I understood, when Prince was getting hassled as a young man in Minneapolis, he used to point to the baddest man on the planet being black—Muhammad Ali,” Clark said.

“It’s my hope that they will not only inspire but ennoble and point the way for other people to follow their own path,” Clark added. “It can be rough sometimes, but in the end, it pays off. And a kid can look up to them and know it’s OK to be different.”