Muhammad Ali is the greatest of all time, but to his daughter, Laila Ali, he was the best father she could ever had. During the 2016 BET Awards, after being introduced by Jamie Foxx, a tearful Laila honored her father not as a fighter, but as a man full of ‘love.’
There will never be another Muhammad Ali, and the 2016 BET Awards made sure to honor the legendary boxer and icon, with help from his daughter, Laila Ali, 38. While many know Muhammad as the man who famously “floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee,” Ali revealed how she knew him just as “Dad.”
“My father lived his life with conviction and purpose,” Laila said after she was introduced by Jamie Foxx, 48, during the June 26 event. Though Jamie said he was intimidated to meet the legendary boxer, Laila revealed her father to be more concerned with peace than fighting. “To me and my eight sisters and brothers he was just Dad,” she said. “As his youngest daughter I can tell you that he was also a loving, gentle and principled man. He believed in evolving in his beliefs and his ideas.”
“As my dad grew older he evolved in his mind,” Laila said. “His heart and his spirit but one thing that never changed was his love and gratitude for all people.” As she held back tears, Laila ended her tribute saying, “If people loved each other as much as they love me, it would be a much better world.”
Muhammad passed away on June 3 due to septic shock following unspecified natural causes. The loss left a huge void in the sports world. As fans mourned, Ali’s funeral was attended by his fellow athletes and celebrities, including Billy Crystal, 68, Mike Tyson, 49, and George Foreman, 67. Sylvester Stallone, 69, posted heartfelt tribute, saying that Ali was “the real Apollo Creed.”
Will Smith, 47, who portrayed Muhammad in the Oscar-nominated movie, Ali, was absolutely devastated with the Great One’s death. “You shook up the world!” he wrote. “My mentor and my friend. You changed my life. Rest In Peace.” Even President Barack Obama, 54, made sure to mourn Muhammad, saying that “the world’s better” because of the boxer.
The greatest boxer in history wasn’t the only icon being celebrated at the 2016 BET Awards. Sadly, the world also lost Prince, and BET wanted to honor the life and legacy of the “Purple Rain” singer. After they threw some shade at Madonna, 57, for her Billboard Awards performance, the network came through by getting The Roots, Janelle Monae, 30, D’Angelo, 42, and Prince’s former band mates, Sheila E, 48, to deliver an epic tribute to the Purple One.
What did you think about BET’s tribute to Muhammad Ali, HollywoodLifers?