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17 Muslim athletes to watch in 2017

17 Muslim athletes to watch in 2017

For all the victories that were achieved across a wide swath of athletic endeavors, the Muslim sports community suffered one tremendous loss in 2016.

On June 3, three-time world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali passed away at the age of 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s syndrome.

Ali’s legacy and impact on the world — not just the sports world — cannot be understated. Some consider him to be the greatest athlete of all time. Others would call him the most famous athlete of all time. He might have been both. And it seems that anyone who came to know Ali thought of him as a better person than athlete. His status as a champion for freedom and equal rights is just as important to his life’s story as the championships he fought for in the ring.

After Ali, the biggest Muslim sports headline-makers in 2016 included NFL players Aqib Talib and Ryan Harris, who helped the Denver Broncos win Super Bowl 50; soccer star Paul Pogba, who commanded a world-record transfer fee of more than $112 million to play for Manchester United; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the retired NBA legend who spoke at the Democratic National Convention and was chosen to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom; Bernard Hopkins, who at 51 years old finally decided to end his Hall of Fame boxing career; Mo Farah, who added two more Olympic gold medals to his already bloated trophy case; and Ibtihaj Muhammad, who won a fencing bronze medal at the Olympics and made history as the first Olympian to represent the U.S. while wearing a hijab headscarf.

What to look forward to in 2017?

The track, wrestling and weightlifting stars who won Olympic gold last year will have a shot at World Championship gold this year. Contenders in boxing and MMA could claim world titles. One young giant may enter the NBA. And another Muslim NFL star will play in the Super Bowl.

Here are 17 Muslim athletes to watch in 2017: Visit for website: