Wheaties, the toasted oat flakes nicknamed "The Breakfast of Champions" that have been a staple at breakfast tables across the nation for the past 100 years is unveiling a special series of commemorative cereal boxes starting with boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
This collectible box will be the first in a multi-part series, launching throughout the centennial year and featuring instantly recognizable champions who have previously graced the Wheaties box and shaped sports culture.
Wheaties chose to kick off the series with "The Greatest" in honor of the athlete’s six core principles of confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, spirituality and respect reflected in his approach to opponents inside and outside of the ring.
“No one was quite like Muhammad Ali, beyond his unrivaled prowess in the boxing ring he was also an agent for social change, racial justice, and is remembered as a civil rights icon,” Taylor Gessell, brand experience manager for Wheaties, said in a news release. “We are proud to launch our commemorative series by honoring the valiant legacy of Muhammad Ali: The Greatest of All Time.”
The 2021 commemorative box featuring Ali, the three-time world heavyweight boxing titleholder, and Olympic gold medalist, is the third time the boxing great has been featured. He was also on the Wheaties box in 1999 and 2012.
Here's what else to know about Wheaties and its history of featuring the best of the best on its boxes:
Wheaties Box celebrity fun facts
In its original form, athletes were depicted on the sides or back of the cereal box. In 1958, Wheaties began placing the pictures on the front of the box.
Aviator Elinor Smith was the first female on the Wheaties box in 1934. The following year golfer Babe Didrikson Zaharias became the first female athlete.
Baseball great Lou Gehrig made the cut three times in 1934, 1992 and 1999. He was also the first living person General Mills chose to honor on their cereal box.
Jesse Owen was the first Black athlete featured on the cereal box in 1936.
Olympic pole vaulter Bob Richards was the first athlete to be featured on the front of the box in 1958.
Can you guess which athlete has been featured by Wheaties more than any other? If you guessed basketball legend Michael Jordan, you are correct. He's starred back at you while you spoon up your Wheaties 18 times — and that's just so far.
Follow Kirby Adams on Twitter @kirbylouisville.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Wheaties features Muhammad Ali on 100th-anniversary commemorative box