A president and a king got bumped from speaking at Ali’s funeral
UPDATE: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Abdullah II of Jordan, who had been scheduled to speak at Muhammad Ali’s funeral Friday at the KFC Yum! Center, have been bumped because two other speakers have been added.
Ali family spokesman Bob Gunnell said Monday that two other speakers are going to be added to the current program, meaning there won’t be room for foreign dignitaries. Gunnell says both their offices were ”gracious and understood.”
He says the names of the two additional speakers will be revealed later.
Muhammad Ali’s funeral will be held on Friday in Louisville, Kentucky, and if you want a quick snapshot of the impact he had, consider who is scheduled to speak.
On Monday, it was confirmed that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Abdullah II of Jordan have been added to the list of speakers.
Along with Bill Clinton, who will give a eulogy, that makes two presidents and a king who will honor Ali.
In addition to those three — and Ali’s wife and daughter — actor Billy Crystal, broadcaster Bryant Gumbel, a Protestant minister, two Rabbis and a Mormon U.S. Senator will also speak.
"Everything that we’re doing here was blessed by Muhammad Ali and requested," family spokesman Bob Gunnell said. "He wanted the memorial service to reflect his life and how he lived. And he wanted everyone to be able to attend. He was the people’s champ, so we wanted the memorial service to reflect that."
The funeral will begin with a 30-minute Islamic prayer at Freedom Hall — the site of Ali’s last fight in Louisville — at noon ET, followed by a public procession and then a 2 p.m. ET memorial service in the KFC Yum! Center, where about 18,000 people will be able to attend.