THEY ALL GATHER ‘ROUND ALI


A once powerful man, now unable to do the one thing he wants most: Stand up and slug Diddy. (Photos by Ethan Miller | Getty)

How many events can span from Buzz Aldrin all the way down to Tony Danza? We know, right? Danza!

Also, Muhammad Ali was there, too.

Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, more or less everyone turned out to fete the Champ for his 70th birthday and raise money for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health — including $1.1 million from Lorenzo Fertitta alone to buy up Ali’s gloves he used against Floyd Patterson.

Stevie Wonder got to sing “Happy Birthday” to the Greatest, Snoop made the crowd chant “Ali” during “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” and LL Cool J, who once leaned so heavily on Ali mythos he put out an album called G.O.A.T., got Evander Holyfield to shadowbox on stage for “Mama Said Knock You Out” — joined by Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy “Hitman” Hearns. Hearns, who always should have stuck with the infinitely more awesome “Motor City Cobra” nickname.

Diddy, Samuel L. Jackson and David Beckham all talked about Ali, while Lenny Kravitz, Cee-Lo Green and Kelly Rowland performed for the 2,000 or so attendees.

Also turning out? Like we said: Everyone. Cindy Crawford, Larry King, Quincy Jones, Ken Jeong, Common, Anthony Hopkins, John Legend, Chris Cornell, Joe Perry, Slash, Terrence Howard, Kris Kristofferson, David Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, Jim Brown, Randy Couture, Brad Garrett, Dave Koz, James Gandolfini, Steve Schirripa, John Paul DeJoria, Raphael Saadiq, Haley Reinhart,Sammy Hagar, Manny Pacquiao, Mike Tyson, Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers, Leon Spinks, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and Chuck Wepner.

They’re airing the whole shindig 4 p.m. Feb. 25 on ABC locally and 10 p.m. on ESPN2 nationally.

topics: muhammad ali
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