- Donald Rumsfeld has ‘no idea’ if he paid taxes correctly
- Bradley Manning named honorary grand marshal of San Francisco Pride parade
- Look out PayPal: Facebook working toward mobile payments system
- U.S. rebukes Iran’s U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- Stoned mom avoids jail after driving 12 miles with baby on roof
- More than 100 ‘inappropriate’ encounters between NYC school staffers, students since 2009: report
- Joe Biden to Boston bombing survivors: ‘America will never, ever stand down’
- FBI failed to throughly vet Boston bombing suspect after Russian lead, report finds
- Atlanta Braves flooded with Hank Aaron hate mail: He’s a ‘scumbag’
- University: Help, our campus is too white
Muhammad Ali cheered at 70th birthday bash in Ky.
LOUISVILLE, KY. (AP) - Muhammad Ali soaked in familiar cheers and chants along with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” on Saturday night as friends and admirers celebrated the boxing champ’s coming 70th birthday at a party in his Kentucky hometown.
As party-goers mingled in a lobby of the Muhammad Ali Center before the party, Ali walked slowly to a second-floor balcony overlooking them. The crowd immediately began to clap, then broke into chants of “Ali! Ali!” followed by singing as Ali watched for about two minutes.
The three-time world heavyweight champion, who is battling Parkinson’s disease, leaned against a rail and raised his right hand to wave to the crowd. Ali walked on his own but was at times assisted by his wife, Lonnie, and his sister-in-law. After the brief appearance, Ali went to his party.
Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis said his boyhood idol is “still the greatest.”
“I feel so proud and honored that we’re able to show our feelings and show our support for him,” Lewis said.
“What he’s done outside the ring _ just the bravery, the poise, the feeling, the sacrifice,” Lewis said “… He’s truly a great man.”
The guest list numbered 350 for the private party, which doubled as a $1,000-per-person fundraiser for the Ali Center, the six-year-old cultural and education complex designed to be a legacy to his social activism. The six-story center also retraces Ali’s career, including his epic bouts against Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Sonny Liston.
Guests paid tribute to Ali beforehand.
“The reason I loved him is because of his confidence,” University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari said. “He would talk and then back it up. He had great courage and who had more fun than him?”
The guest list also included Ali’s trainer Angelo Dundee and three American hikers who were imprisoned in Iran. Ali, perhaps the most prominent U.S. Muslim, lobbied for their release. Rocker John Mellencamp headlined the entertainment.
Ali turns 70 on Tuesday, and the party in his hometown is the first of five planned in the next few months. Not long after Ali’s dramatic appearance on the balcony, the crowd began filing into a banquet hall for the party, which was closed to the public and reporters.
The self-proclaimed “Greatest of All Time” remains one of the world’s most recognizable figures, even though he’s been largely absent from the public eye recently as he fights Parkinson’s disease.
Lonnie Ali said Friday that her husband has mixed feelings about the landmark birthday.
“He’s glad he’s here to turn 70, but he wants to be reassured he doesn’t look 70,” she said.
TWT Video Picks
By returning to goodness, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- Russian fighter jet buzzes U.S. Navy destroyer in Black Sea
- PHILLIPS: What did Harry Reid know and when did he know it?
- Atlanta Braves flooded with Hank Aaron hate mail: He's a 'scumbag'
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes