Muhammad Ali conveys some important lessons on final journey

The community farewell for Muhammad Ali may be remembered most of all for all the different people who wanted to say goodbye to him.

The most well-known Muslim in the world planned his service to include people of several different creeds, including representatives of the Jewish, Mormon, Buddist, Roman Catholic and Protestant faiths.

Wagging his fingers even in death, telling the world religions to quit hating, to heed their God, to respect each other, and get along.

He ensured that members of both political parties would be represented at his memorial service. Republican Orrin Hatch and former President Bill Clinton were both eager to recount memories of lasting friendships with the champ.

Friends with liberals and conservatives, rebuffing those who would deny a voice to those with different political beliefs.

People of all ages, races and socio-economic status, an estimated 100,000-plus of them, lining the streets in parts of Southeast Louisville, West Louisville and East Louisville to pay their respects.

All four of the primary local TV stations providing week-long coverage of the funeral plans, enabling dozens and dozens of Louisvillians to tell their personal stories about encounters with Muhammad Ali. The stations also providing day-long coverage of the funeral procession and the memorial service.

Many of them tossing flowers in his path, some running along the funeral procession, others wanting to touch the hearse. Wanting to hang on to him as long as possible.

A day when Louisvillians came together to celebrate one of their own, recognizing someone very special has passed from their midst, leaving them with some memories and lessons in a way that only he could convey.

The Crowd

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Mangok Mathiang, David Levitch and Deng Adel were with the UofL basketball team at the service.
Mangok Mathiang, David Levitch and Deng Adel were with the UofL basketball team at the service. (Photo by Cindy Rice Shelton.)

Among the attendees at the Muhammad Ali memorial service were members of the University of Louisville basketball team. Ali was a frequent spectator at many different UofL athletic events.

Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.