A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from March 26, 2013
G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time)

The boxer Muhammad Ali (then called Cassius Clay; 1942-2016) said “I’m the greatest (heavyweight of all time)” since at least 1962. A 1977 biographical film about Ali was titled The Greatest. “His (Ali’s—ed.) corporation, GOAT (Greatest of All Time)” was printed in The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY) on August 30, 1996.

“G.O.A.T.” became the popular initialism for “Greatest Of All Time” with LL Cool J’s album, G.O.A.T. featuring James T. Smith: The Greatest Of All Time (2000). “GOAT” has been discussed in many sports in addition to boxing, such as basketball (where LeBron James has been discussed as the GOAT) and tennis (where Roger Federer has been discussed as the GOAT).


Google News Archive
3 March 1962, The Daily News Texan, “Clay Wants Floyd as Bad as Sonny” by Orval Jackson, pg. 4, col. 2:
MIAMI BEACH (UPI)—“Maybe I’ll let Patterson go six rounds. But then he must fall, too.”

Cassius Marcellus Clay, the grandson of a slave, grinned when he said it, acknowledging that it may take him more than six rounds to whip Floyd Patterson.
(...)
But there is no doubt that Clay has set his sights high—and that he is a confident young man.

“I’m the greatest,” is the cocky refrain of the cocky Clay, who turned 20 last month.

Google News Archive
17 March 1963, The Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA), ‘Toward Oblivion,"pg. 10, col. 8:
CASSIUS CLAY, who admitted before the fight that he is “the greatest heavyweight of all time,” could hardly get his mitts on Doug Jones, who had been given the title of the “forgotten man.”

Clay had better brush up on his poetry, or he’ll soon win that title himself.

OCLC WorldCat record
I am the greatest!
Author: Muhammad Ali; Peter Matz
Publisher: [New York] : Columbia, [1963]
Edition/Format: Audiobook on LP : LP recording : English

Newspapers.com
30 August 1996, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), “Museum is the gift the Alis have long wanted to give” by Rochelle Riley, pg. B1, col. 4:
Muhammad Ali and his wife are preparing to sell the estate, which is surrounded by the St. Joseph River, and bring the family and his corporation, GOAT (Greatest of All Time) to Louisville for good.

11 October 1996, USA Today (McLean, VA), “Still the Greatest: Ali’s return not met with pity, but affection” by Jon Saraceno, pg. 1A:
By 1986, Ali’s divorce settlements and other poor investments had left him financially hurting. Spontaneous acts of generosity on his part were commonplace. Lonnie, who graduated from Vanderbilt University and later from UCLA with a graduate degree in marketing, organized Ali’s new economic household. Ali’s corporate entity, G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), generates income in excess of $1 million a year.

OCLC WorldCat record
G.o.a.t. featuring James T. Smith : the greatest of all time
Author: LL Cool J; Ja Rule.; Kandice Love; D M X.; Method Man.; All authors
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Island Def Jam Music, 2000.
Edition/Format: Music CD : CD audio : Rock music : English : [Edited version]

OCLC WorldCat record
GOAT : a tribute to Muhammad Ali
Author: Howard L Bingham; Neil Leifer
Publisher: [Köln] ; [Paris] : Taschen, [2004]
Edition/Format: Book : English : [Collector ed.]

OCLC WorldCat record
Greatest of all time : a tribute to Muhammad Ali
Author: Howard L Bingham; Neil Leifer; Benedikt Taschen
Publisher: Köln ; [Paris] : Taschen, cop. 2010
Edition/Format: Book : French

OCLC WorldCat record
Goat : greatest of all time.
Publisher: Köln ; London : Taschen, 2010.
Edition/Format: Book : English
Summary:
Universally acclaimed as the greatest sportsman of the modern era, someone who transformed not just his sport but the cultural status of athletes everywhere, Muhammad Ali towers over the ‘sweet science’ of boxing, almost two decades after announcing his retirement. This book reflects the scale of Ali’s many achievements.

The Huffington Post
Tim Chartier and Dean Chadwin
LeBron the Greatest of All Time?
Posted: 02/15/2013 6:05 pm
As basketball fans around the world focus their attention on Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, one player stands above the rest. LeBron James is clearly the league’s best player. He has won the MVP award three of the last four years and led the league in most advanced metrics over the same period of time. He can run, pass, shoot, rebound and defend as well or better than any of his peers. An important question lingers: is LeBron the Greatest of All Time, or GOAT?

TennisEarth
Roger Federer: The Greatest Of All Time
By Pawan Atri 07-Mar-2013 10:30
(...)
To answer that one question - whether he is the best player to set foot on a tennis court, TennisEarth takes you inside the “Fedex Territory” as we begin our six part series about why the maestro is the “GOAT” (Greatest of all time). 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Tuesday, March 26, 2013 • Permalink