In the wake of the great Muhammad Ali's death Friday, close friends and admirers alike have paid their respects to the beloved legend. Stephen Colbert offered his own thoughts on Ali’s passing on Monday's Late Show by praising his "culture-changing spirit" and its impact on many generations to come.
"The world lost a true icon," Colbert told his audience. "He was one of the most influential people of the 20th century and one of the most dominant athletes in the history of sports." After squeezing in a quick dig at Trump, Colbert then focused on one of Ali's most memorable moments.
"Nothing sums up the defiant, culture-changing spirit of Muhammad Ali like when he said, 'I am America. I am the part you won't recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me,'" Colbert said.
Later, Colbert also welcomed Hall of Famer and longtime friend of Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to share his own memories of the late legend. "My dad boxed so, you know, boxing was a big sport for me when I was a kid," Kareem recalled. "[Ali] handled all of that and on top of that he handled a whole lot of issues that had nothing to do with sports [like] civil rights and human rights issues." Kareem also looked back on his first meeting with Ali, at a UCLA party as a freshman trying to tackle the art of drums:
"[Ali's] understanding of what integrity was all about was remarkable," Kareem added. "It's an example for us to repeat for our kids and grandkids because it was the real deal." Indeed.
Rest in power, Muhammad Ali.