"The Greatest" boxer, known equally for his wit and outspoken nature as his agility and skill, gave a sobering speech on life when a young child asked him, simply: "What are you going to do when you retire?"
An old video of Muhammad Ali, who passed away Friday at 74, answering this question resurfaced online following his death, and his response reflecting on life and religion is as stunning as it was at the time.
A child asked Muhammad Ali what he would do when he retired. His long, beautiful answer stunned the crowd.https://t.co/qAuYcJUmv1
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) June 3, 2016
The champion boxer starts jokingly saying: "Sleep, that's all I want to do," pretending to doze and snoring loudly on stage. Quickly, Ali straightened up and answered the question more seriously.
"Life is not really long, let's say the average person is 30 years old. If you're 30 years old you're not but about seven years old."
The boxer continued, tallying just where the other 23 years are lost.
He estimated all the hours spent sleeping -- seven, eight, nine hours a night -- mean a 30-year-old has spent about eight years unconscious.
Travelling time between school, home, work, other countries cost you another two years, Ali goes on.
"Out of 30 years, I might have 16 years to be productive."
He averages out 12 years of school six hours a day to equal three years of your life and counts time spent on entertainment, like movies and such, as two years of your life.
"Out of 30 years, I might have 16 years to be productive," the then 35-year-old athlete and activist says.
He added, "By the time you have children, by the time you've made way for your children, by the time you pay for your home, you're pushing 60 years old."
Circling back to the original question, he says, "What am I going to do for the next 16 years — what's the best thing I'm going to do? Get ready to meet God."
"Owning real estate, going into business, teaching boxers, that won't get me to heaven," Ali said. "When I get out of boxing, what I'm going to do, I'm going to do all I can to help people."
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Sonny Liston lies out for the count after being KO'd in the first round of his return title fight by world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, Lewiston, Maine, May 25, 1965. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
Photo of Muhammed Ali circa 1970. (Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)
In this 1954 file photo, boxer Cassius Clay is shown. Long before his dazzling footwork and punching prowess made him a three-time world heavyweight boxing champion known as Muhammad Ali, a young Cassius Clay honed his skills by sparring with neighborhood friends and running alongside the bus on the way to school. Ali turns 70 on Jan. 17, 2012. (AP)
In this Feb. 8, 1962 file photo, a young Muhammad Ali is seen with his trainer Angelo Dundee at City Parks Gym in New York. The three-time heavyweight boxing champion will celebrate a milestone birthday Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, when he turns 70. Ali will be surrounded by friends who are gathering Saturday evening, Jan. 14, for a birthday party at the Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville. (Dan Grossi, AP)
In this Nov. 15, 1962, file photo, young heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali, points to a sign he wrote on a chalk board in his dressing room before his fight against Archie Moore in Los Angeles, predicting he'd knock Moore out in the fourth round, which he went on to do. The sign also predicts Clay will be the next champ via a knockout over Sonny Liston in eight rounds. He did it in seven rounds. Ali turns 70 on Jan. 17, 2012. (Harold P. Matosian, AP)
US boxer Muhammad Ali in training for a match against Brian London, Aug. 1966. (R. McPhedran, Express / Getty Images
American heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, circa 1970. The man in front of him is wearing a t-shirt printed with Ali's motto 'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee'. (Chris Smith, Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
In this Sept. 3, 1960, file photo, Cassius Clay, right, 18-year-old from Louisville, Ky., throws a right at Tony Madigan of Australia, during the light heavyweight boxing semifinals at the Summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. Cassius Clay later changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Ali turns 70 on Jan. 17, 2012. (AP)
British pop group The Beatles, (L-R) Paul McCartney, John Lennon (1940 - 1980), Ringo Starr and George Harrison (1943 - 2001), pose for a photo with Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali), contender for the World Heavyweight Boxing title, at his training camp in Miami. Original Publication: People Disc - HU0064 (Keystone / Getty Images)
In this April 4, 1963 file photo, heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay is seen with his mother, Odessa Grady Clay, in a car outside their home in Louisville, Ky. The man who became the world's most recognizable athlete was a baby sitter, a jokester and a dreamer in the predominantly black West End neighborhood of Louisville where he grew up and forged lasting friendships while beginning his ascent toward greatness. Now, as the iconic boxer slowed by Parkinson's disease prepares to turn 70 next week, he's coming home for a birthday bash at the downtown cultural center and museum that bears his name. (H.B. Littel, AP)
Heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali with his daughters Laila (9 months) and Hanna (2 years 5 months) at Grosvenor House, Dec. 19 1978. (Frank Tewkesbury, Evening Standard / Getty Images)
In this Jan. 17, 1967 file photo, Muhammad Ali blows out the candles on a cake baked for his 25th birthday, in Houston. Ali's wife says the boxing great is still a "big kid" who enjoys his birthday parties. The three-time heavyweight champion turns 70 Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. He will be surrounded by friends Saturday night for a birthday party at the Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown. (Ed Kolenovsky, AP)
Muhammad Ali lights the first Olympic torch for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Dec. 4, 2001. The Olympic flame arrived in the US for the first time in six years, kicking off the Olympic Torch Relay, the ceremonial passing of the Olympic flame, throughout the United States. (Curtis Compton, AFP / Getty Images)
Laila Ali poses with her father, Muhammad Ali, after her 10 round WBC/WIBA Super Middleweight title bout with Erin Toughill at the MCI Center in Washington, DC. Ali won the fight via 3rd round TKO. (Ed Mulholland, WireImage)