VIDEO: Billy Crystal’s Euology For Muhammad Ali, Other Great Quotes
The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, was laid to rest Friday afternoon live in front of 15,000 people – and on ESPN in front of a Cable TV audience at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. The people that came up to the podium to pay their respects to Ali and his family ranged from the religious, with leaders from several faiths, to the comical, with Billy Crystal, to the presidential, with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Without question, this was one of the most impressive outlays of respect and appreciation delivered for a sports figure ever broadcasted on television. When has a monument of power in one particular sport ever had a reach as great as Muhammad Ali, from political to racial to nationalistic?
First off, shame on you, KFC, for naming your building something so ridiculous that we’re forced to mention it during this report on the service. And no drive-thru? Unconscionable.
Listen to Billy Crystal’s fantastic eulogy of The People’s Champion while you read over these great comments.
11 Great Quotes From Muhammad Ali’s Funeral
Here are my 11 favorite quotes from this service – some of which were even attributed to Ali, who was never short of a thought-provoking statement.
— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 10, 2016
“You have to bet on the horse, while it’s still in the mud.” -- Rev. Dr. Kevin Cosby
Cosby made a reference to horse racing, saying that betting on a horse after it’s in the winner’s circle isn’t how it works. You have to bet on one that’s still out there fighting, in the mud, like Ali was during his exile from boxing during the Vietnam War. He basically called out those that didn’t stick by him during the tough times.
— Metro United Way (@MetroUnitedWay) June 10, 2016
“If Muhammad didn’t like the rules, he rewrote them.” – Lonnie Ali, Muhammad Ali’s Widow
Lonnie Ali gave a strong eulogy that tied Ali’s past with the current state of racial relations in the United States. She mentioned that Ali’s introduction to boxing came when he was 12 years old and a boy stole his bike. He told police officer Joe E. Martin that he was going to whip him when he found whoever took it. Martin told him he needs to learn to fight first, and he then became his very first boxing coach.
“America must never forget that when a cop and an inner-city kid talk to each other, then miracles can happen.” – Lonnie Ali
— Boss Lady (@misskanu) June 10, 2016
“Don’t give a teenager a telephone, and don’t give a preacher a microphone.” -- Muslim Imam Zaid Shakir
Shakir, served as the funeral director essentially, delivered one of the best lines after one speaker left the stage.
One speaker that really stood out for me was John Ramsey, one of Ali’s friends. He was talking about a time when a bunch of firefighters had come up to get Ali’s autograph during dinner, and Ali was signing in between bites. One fireman was talking about Ali as his hero, and Ali deflected the praise back to him, saying firemen are the real heroes. Finally, the guy said, “You fought Smokin’ Joe Frazier!” And Ali responded,
“Yeah, but Joe wasn’t really smokin’!” – Muhammad Ali, via John Ramsey
That was definitely one of my favorite stories of the afternoon.
“It is time for a man of peace -- to rest in peace.” – Family friend, John Ramsey
— CNN (@CNN) June 10, 2016
Ali “never lost his sense of humor, even as he lost everything else.” – Billy Crystal
There were dozens of other amazing quotes, but these were our favorites. Let us know what your favorite quotes were @SportsGrid.
Photo Credit: Aaron P. Bernstein, Getty Images
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.