Will Smith Will be a Pallbearer at Muhammad Ali’s Funeral
Will Smith will join boxer Lennox Lewis and family members among the pallbearers at Muhammad Ali’s funeral on Friday.
The actor, who earned his first Oscar nomination for portraying the sports legend in director Michael Mann’s 2001 movie Ali, will be one of the eight people chosen to carry the late boxer and activist’s coffin into the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, ahead of the service, which will feature eulogies from Billy Crystal and former president Bill Clinton.
Smith was one of the first celebrities to pay tribute to Ali following news of his death on Friday at the age of 74.
The Men in Black star took to his Facebook page to remember his friend, writing, “You shook up the World! My Mentor & My Friend. You changed my Life. Rest in Peace.”
Smith honored Ali at last year’s Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year ceremony, where the Legacy Award was renamed the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.
“There’s no doubt that he was a great boxer. He was the greatest of all time,” Smith said during his onstage tribute. “When we think about the legacy of Muhammad Ali, what he did in the ring is not what we think about.”
“For nearly two years, I worked to transform myself into the man who changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and shook up the world, and that’s really what makes my job so beautiful,” he added. “As an actor, for four or five months at a time, I get to wear people’s lives, so I got to wear Muhammad Ali’s greatness. I got to study and feel and embody the soul of the man from the foundations of Islam and the strength of his Muslim faith in his life to the beautiful wake that he always leaves in his magnificent path.”