SBW draws inspiration from Ali

Ahead of his Olympic campaign, Sonny Bill Williams reflects on the achievements of his idol Muhammad Ali.

Williams seemingly has it all. The Kiwi has won Rugby World Cup, Super Rugby and National Rugby League titles and a national heavyweight boxing title, not to mention having a wife and kid.

What could the 30-year-old possibly have left to achieve? Well in his mind, winning an Olympic gold would eclipse all that.

"To be able to say you're an Olympian and get a medal, that'd just be another level," the New Zealand Sevens star told ESPN.  

"It would be unbelievable. I get butterflies just thinking about it. God willing it all works out."

Williams, a devout Muslim, added that former boxing legend Muhammad Ali is an idol of his and draw much inspiration.

"From an athlete's point of view, for me, there was no one bigger than Ali," added the rugby league convert. 

"He's my man. He won a gold medal, he was an Olympian and it would be awesome to say I am an Olympian as well.

"His faith [was inspiring] and I guess, though he didn't always say the right things, he always backed it up. I appreciate that from an athlete. I can only imagine the scrutiny and amount of people that would want to see him fail. But he kept on trucking on.

"There was that fight against George Foreman where no one expected him to win, the odds were stacked against him but somehow he did. It showed the character of him, the man he was.

"It wasn't just about his mouth, he had something deep inside him that allowed him to go to those dark places and come out on top."

Williams and his Sevens teammates will be looking to grab the first ever gold medal when the sport makes its debut at the Rio Olympic Games next month.