The Rock has paid tribute to Muhammad Ali and revealed his first memories of "The Greatest" was hanging out with the boxer in New Zealand as a young boy.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has described Ali in an Instagram post as an inspiration who taught him and others to be the best they could be despite how hard things might get.

The action movie star posted a photo of himself as a 6-year-old boy with Ali and said the three-time heavyweight champion had a big impact on him throughout his life and would "always be the Greatest of All Time".

Ali visited Wellington in 1979 at the age of 37 on the invitation of a coach. Johnson was living in Wellington at the time with his Samoan mother.


"From hanging out with you in New Zealand as this little punk kid, to years later as a WWE rookie when you whispered to me "Can you rumble?" to a few years later when you bestowed upon me "The People's Champ" moniker," The Rock wrote.

"Ali inspired myself and generations around the world to be hungry to achieve, work as hard as you possibly can, to be a great as you possibly can be and make sure that not a day goes by where you don't do your absolute best to make the world smile and feel good. Feel inspired. And feel that no matter how hard times may be, there's always hope for tomorrow."

Johnson first learned Ali only had a few hours left to live when he was on a flight from Atlanta to London. Ali died yesterday at the age of 74.