Boxing legend Muhammad Ali's final journey was attended by plenty of big faces from the entertainment circuit, sports circuit, world leaders as well as a plethora of well-wishers who have admired Ali as an inspiration for decades. Ali died on June 3 at the age of 74 and his last rites took place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday.
"If Muhammad didn't like the rules, he rewrote them. His religion, his beliefs, his name were his to fashion, no matter what the cost," Ali's widow Lonnie said at the funeral. "Muhammad wants young people of every background to see his life as proof that adversity can make you stronger. It cannot rob you of the power to dream, and to reach your dreams."
People of all faith attended the memorial service including Will Smith, Bill Clinton, David Beckham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lennox Lewis and Sugar Ray Leonard, at the KFC Yum! Centre in Louisville. Helicopters, police cars and plenty of limousines were seen as well.
Ali's casket passed through his old school and his childhood home and a plethora of motorbikes ran alongside the hearse, strewing flowers all over. "Ali is the greatest – thanks 4 all the memories," read a banner. A plane also flew overhead displaying another banner with the message: "Muhammad Ali, the greatest."
"He was the greatest man, the greatest man I ever met. To say he was the greatest boxer is a put down. He was bigger than boxing. He was bigger than anything," said George Foreman, Ali's opponent in the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" fight in 1974.
Noted comedian Billy Crystal also paid a fitting tribute to Ali and mentioned that even after he stopped fighting [in 1981], he remained the champion of the world for 35 years, battling Parkinson's disease and getting right back up after getting connected with a knockout blow.
"Thirty-five years after he stopped fighting, [Ali was] still the champion of the world. He was a tremendous bolt of lightning created by Mother Nature. Muhammad Ali struck us in the middle of America's darkest night and his intense light shone on America and we were able to see clearly," said Crystal in the memorial service, as quoted by the BBC.