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The Schmooze

When Billy Crystal Paid Tribute to Muhammad Ali

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Billy Crystal, the Jewish comedian and longtime friend of Muhammad Ali, will deliver a eulogy at the boxing legend’s funeral next Friday.

Former President Bill Clinton and Bryant Gumbel will also speak the memorial service in Ali’s hometown of Louisville, ESPN reported.

“This is what was chosen for him: to be the great ambassador for peace and understanding,” Crystal wrote in a 2010 USA Today piece about Ali. “Our teacher, our healer. He was the fighter who wouldn’t fight. He is a good man.”

One of Crystal’s best known acts is his flawless impression of Ali, who enthralled the world with his iconic combination of power and braggadocio.

Ali himself revelled in Crystal’s “fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee” schtick.

Crystal posted a video of his impression of Ali on Twitter along with a moving eight-word tribute: “For the greatest man I have ever known.”

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