Trump said he was thinking "very seriously" about granting clemency to Ali, adding that his administration is already "doing recommendations" on the late boxer.
A pardon for Ali would mark the second deceased boxer to be granted executive clemency under Trump. Last month, the president pardoned Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion, who was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury of violating a law prohibiting the transport of women across state lines for "immoral" purposes. Johnson died in 1946.
Ali was convicted in 1967 on charges of draft evasion and was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title. A convert to Islam, the boxer cited his religious convictions for his refusal to serve in the U.S. Army.
The Supreme Court overturned Ali's conviction in 1971 — a fact that was pointed out in a statement from lawyer Ron Tweel, who has represented Ali and his family members since 1986.
"We appreciate President Trump's sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in 1971. There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed," Tweel said in a statement.