The funeral of Muhammad Ali held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky saw the coming together of people from all walks of life, including several famous personalities, who were united in their grief at the departure of the great boxer.
The ceremony witnessed rousing and touching eulogies from people who were close to Ali during his life. These speeches were an insight into his nature and shed light on why he was much loved in the world of sport and beyond.
1. President’s Obama’s speech (Delivered by his senior adviser)
Obama couldn’t make it to the funeral but asked his senior adviser Valerie Jarett, who was also a close friend of Ali, to read the speech for him.
“Muhammad Ali was America, Muhammad Ali will always be America. What a man, what a spirit, what a joyous, mightiful champion. It sometimes seemed that he was too big for America, but I think the world flocked to him in wonder precisely because he was America.“
2. Bill Clinton’s Speech
Ex-President Bill Clinton was also associated with Ali through their humanitarian measures. He made a touching speech in which he said:
2. Billy Crystal’s speech
Billy Crystal, a comedian who was also a close friend of Ali, brought in a touch of lightness in the sombre gathering.
“He was funny, he was beautiful, and he was the most perfect athlete you ever saw, and those were his own words.”
“Heavyweight champions come and go, sports heroes come and go, there was something about Ali that was different. At the key moment when he had that recognition, he used it to stand up to an immoral war. And that is why the millions of Americans who do not particularly care about boxing care about Muhammad Ali because he was willing to risk the honor and recognition he got to stand for the beliefs he had.”
5. Lonnie Ali’s speech
“Muhammad fell in love with the masses, and they fell in love with him. In the diversity of men and their faiths, Muhammad saw the presence of God. “