Ali departs with poignant service
Thousands of people from the worlds of sports, entertainment, politics and Muhammad Ali's native Louisville bid farewell to the boxing legend on Friday. A touching memorial service, which began with a Quranic chant, capped two days of tributes honoring the three-time heavyweight world champion known as "The Greatest," who died last week at 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. Here are some of the quotes from the memorial service:
"Besides being a lot of fun to be around and basically a universal soldier for our common humanity, I will always think of Muhammad as a truly free man of faith."
– former US president Bill Clinton
"The greatness of this man for the ages was that he was, in fact, a man for all ages.... He fought not just the biggest and baddest inside the ropes but, outside, went toe-to-toe with critics."
-- sports journalist Bryant Gumbel
"If Muhammad did not like the rules, he would rewrite them. His religion, his name, his beliefs, were his to fashion, no matter what the cost."
-- Ali's wife Lonnie
"Muhammad Ali was America. Muhammad Ali will always be America."
-- Senior presidential aide Valerie Jarrett, reading a tribute from President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle
"He dared to love black people at a time when black people had a problem loving themselves."
– Senior Pastor Kevin Cosby, St Stephen's Baptist Church
"He had charm and charisma and swagger, before we knew what that was."
-- Long-time friend John Ramsey
“Muhammad Ali was the heart of this city -- the living, breathing embodiment of the greatest that we can be." -- Rabbi Joe Rapport
"Having Muhammad Ali in my life somehow sustained my dad's breath for me just a little while longer -- 51 years longer until now."
-- Attallah Shabazz, daughter of slain Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X
"At the key moment when he had that recognition, he used it to stand up to an immoral war and say, 'No, I won't go'."
-- Rabbi Michael Lerner, speaking about Ali's refusal to serve in Vietnam
"I was clean-shaven when this started."
– Comedian Billy Crystal, sporting a full beard, joking about length of the service