LACETT | Childhood Friend on Ali: “He never got bigger than the - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LACETT | Childhood Friend on Ali: “He never got bigger than the neighborhood.”

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) – Bob Coleman was having a tough day but he simply needed to be at the Muhammad Ali Center.  

“I couldn’t sit at home,” said Coleman. “This is helping me get through the day. “

The 74-year-old Coleman wanted to take a stroll down memory lane. You see, these pictures on the wall, they’re not just images of a legend. They are images of his friend. 

“It brings back memories of some of the things growing up.”

Coleman met a young Muhammad Ali back in 1948 here in Louisville. They were five and attended the same school. Ali wasn’t the Louisville Lip just yet but Coleman says he showed potential.  

“He got louder when he had a platform but he was never bashful as far as I’m concerned,” said Coleman.

Coleman remembers Ali as a prankster. When they were 13, Coleman was on the receiving end of a playful punch from the future champ.

Let’s just say Coleman didn’t find it funny.

“What he called a light jab, I called a knockout,” recalled Coleman.  “I told him if he ever hit me again it would be over.”

As they got older, live took them in separate directions. Ali became famous but he never forgot about his friends. Coleman recalls Ali helping him grab a table during a busy night at a popular restaurant. 

"I heard Ali was in there,” said Coleman. “I gave the waiter $10 and a note to give to him. (Suddenly)  They were moving tables."

Ali maybe the Champ to the world but to Coleman, he will forever be his buddy from back in the day.

“Forever and ever the greatest. The best friend and the best humanitarian you’ll ever have.”

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