Don King Turns 92 – “I’m One Of The World’s Great Survivors” And Other Quotes

By James Slater - 08/20/2023 - Comments

Don King turns 92 years of age today. The “Only in America Man” is not as visible as he once was, but his name gets an instant reaction, good or bad, whenever it comes up. Love him or hate him, YOU have an opinion when it comes to Don King. It was way back in 1972 when King promoted his first ever boxing card, and just two years later, in Africa and with the celebrated “Rumble in the Jungle,” King was a global figure.

“I had made it,” King said when looking back on his monster breakthrough. King had a style all of his own, his hair, his bling, his expensive suits, and of course, his use of the English language. Never before or since has a boxing promoter, or maybe any promoter, spoken like King. Taking to reading and educating himself whilst serving time in jail for manslaughter – “I didn’t serve time, I made time serve me,” King said) – King came out a new man.

Armed with a quote from anyone from Shakespeare to Richard II, from Martin Luther King Junior to Gandhi, King got busy impressing, perhaps even flummoxing, literary giants such as George Plimpton. In short, the sport of boxing had never seen, or heard, anyone like King. There was of course the bad side: the stealing, the fact that no man has been taken to court by more fighters than has King. And King’s at times unconscionable ability to tread on the people who had helped him, Lloyd Price, Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, and so many others.

But as vilified as King became, some people did attempt to build up some kind of a defence for him, this by stating how all King’s rival boxing promoters were as bad as him, it was just that he was the biggest name, the biggest target. Ali once said, “All boxing promoters are crooks, it just took a black man with funny hair for people to notice.”

While British boxing giant Mickey Duff, in comparing King to his biggest rival Bob Arum, stated that “One’s black and one’s white. That’s the only difference.”

But when it came to great quotes, it’s possible King was in a class all by himself. Here, whether you wish to wish King a happy birthday or not, are some memorable quotes from King Don that may or may not make you smile.

“I had a moment of religious epiphanosity.”

“Martin Luther King took us to the mountain top: I want to take us to the bank. I’m not fighting the Civil War, I’m fighting the poverty war.”

“Against the odds, I have persevered, I am the living attestation of the American Dream. I am the extolment of this great nation. I have coffee and cocktails with presidents and dictators. I’m an international figure, a citizen of the world. I’ve made it.”

“Man, I’ve been to jail. It was hell in there, but I survived, if they put me back, I’ll come out again. I’m one of the world’s great survivors. I’ll always survive because I’ve got the right combination of wit, grit and bullshit.”

“People don’t like me for the same reason they didn’t like Muhammad Ali. We’re the wrong kind of n****r. We’re not quiet. We stand up to be counted.”

“I don’t promote boxing, I promote people. Boxing is a catalyst to bring people together.”

“There’s only been three giant promoters in our lifetime. There’s Michael Todd, P.T Barnum, and yours truly.”

“All the rules went out the window when I arrived. The white sports writers can’t accept that, can’t get it through their heads that this n****r came out of prison and turned the whole thing upside down on them all by himself.”

“I never get tired because it ain’t energy that’s being dispensed. It is God speaking through me.”

“I look after friends and kick enemy asses.”

“You see, the problem with me is I’m so good even my friends think I’m doing something wrong. Flair and flamboyance is not illegal. It may be detestable, it may be offensive, but it’s not illegal.”

“I wasn’t getting invited to any board meetings. I had to kick the door down.”

“I will fight for America until the day I drop.”

“When you can count your money, you ain’t got none.”

“Thank God for money.”

“Out of all the fighters that I have developed, clothed, financed, Gerrie Coetzee is the only one who had the decency to say ‘thanks’.”

“I’m a promoter of the people for the people for the people by the people and my magic lies in my people ties.”

“I never cease to amaze myself. I say this humbly.”