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Will Smith Pays Tribute to “Mentor and Friend” Muhammad Ali


Gregorio Binuya/Getty ImagesWill Smith, who portrayed Muhummad Ali in the 2001 film Ali, posted a moving tribute to the late champ on Facebook over the weekend.  Ali died Friday in Phoenix at the age of 74.

“You shook up the World! My Mentor & My Friend. You changed my Life. Rest in Peace,” Smith posted.  He was nominated for an Oscar for playing “The Greatest,” and Ali heartily approved of his performance.

Billboard reports that last year, Smith spoke about Ali’s impact when he presented the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to Jack Nicklaus at Sports Illustrated magazine’s Sportsperson of the Year dinner.

According to Billboard, Smith told the crowd that when he portrayed Ali on film, “I got to wear Muhammad Ali’s greatness. I got to study and feel and embody the soul of the man, from the foundations of Islam and the strength of his Muslim faith and his life to the beautiful wake that he always leaves in his magnificent path.”

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