Key quotes from Ali memorial service

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Pallbearers including Heavyweight boxing champions Mike Tyson (L), Lennox Lewis (2-L) and actor Will Smith (R) applaud during the memorial service for boxing legend Muhammad Ali at the KFC Yum Center on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. / AFP PHOTO / Michael B. Thomas

Louisville: The following are a selection of key quotes from Friday’s public memorial service honoring boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who died last week at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease:

Soldier for humanity

“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

LOUISVILLE, KY - JUNE 10: President Bill Clinton speaks during a memorial service for boxing legend Muhammad Ali on June 10, 2016 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Ali died June 3 of complications from Parkinson's disease.   Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images/AFP
LOUISVILLE, KY – JUNE 10: President Bill Clinton speaks during a memorial service for boxing legend Muhammad Ali on June 10, 2016 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Ali died June 3 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images/AFP

Man for the ages

“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

Rule-breaker

“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

Face of America

“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

Daring

“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

Swagger

“He had charm and charisma and swagger, before we knew what that was.”

— Long-time friend John Ramsey

LOUISVILLE, KY - JUNE 10: John Ramsey speaks during a memorial service for boxing legend Muhammad Ali on June 10, 2016 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Ali died June 3 of complications from Parkinson's disease.   Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images/AFP
LOUISVILLE, KY – JUNE 10: John Ramsey speaks during a memorial service for boxing legend Muhammad Ali on June 10, 2016 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Ali died June 3 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images/AFP

Heart of Louisville

“Muhammad Ali was the heart of this city — the living, breathing embodiment of the greatest that we can be.”

— Rabbi Joe Rapport

Friend of Malcolm X

“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

Conscientious objector

“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

Laughs

“I was clean-shaven when this started.”

— Comedian Billy Crystal, sporting a full beard, joking about length of the service.

 

 

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