Will Smith Will Serve as a Pallbearer at Muhammad Ali’s Funeral

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Will Smith. Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Fifteen years after playing Muhammad Ali in the Michael Mann biopic Ali, Will Smith will serve as a pallbearer at the boxing legend's funeral, the BBC reports. Smith and Ali first became close during the actor's preparation for the role, which earned a rave review from the man himself. "He is a perfect actor," Ali told ABC in 2001. "I even thought he was me." Smith repaid the compliment in a speech at the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year ceremony last year, telling the crowd he was grateful for the opportunity to "study and feel and embody the soul of the man, from the foundations of Islam and the strength of his Muslim faith in his life, to the beautiful wake that he always leaves in his magnificent path." Smith will be joined as a pallbearer by former heavyweight champion boxer Lennox Lewis and various friends and family. Ali's funeral will take place in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 10, followed by a public memorial service at the city's KFC Yum! Center, which will probably be a more somber occasion than that name implies.