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Politics Nation With Al Sharpton, Transcript, 6/5/2016

Guests: Linda Sanchez; Khalil Jibron Mohamed; Danny Glover; Evander Holyfield; Jerry Brewer

Show: POLITICS NATION Date: June 5, 2016 Guest: Linda Sanchez; Khalil Jibron Mohamed; Danny Glover; Evander Holyfield; Jerry Brewer


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning. I`m Al Sharpton.

It will be a week for remembering Muhammad Ali. The greatest of all time. In the next two or three days, Ali`s body will be moved from Arizona to his hometown in Louisville, Kentucky, where he will be buried. Family members will hold a private ceremony on Tuesday. Then on Friday, a funeral procession and a public memorial. Among those eulogizing Ali, former president Bill Clinton.

And we`re learning more about Ali`s final hour. The cause of his death was septic shock after five days in the hospital. Messages of sorrow continue to pour out. President Obama tweeted this photo, showing himself under a photo of Ali. On Saturday, he called Ali`s widow Lonnie Williams to express his condolences.

Let`s start with NBC`s Craig Melvin in Louisville.

Craig, what more are we learning about plans for the coming week?

CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Reverend Al, we can tell you that Muhammad Ali`s body will spend a fair amount of time here in Louisville Thursday and Friday, in addition to that public memorial that is going to happen two blocks from here at the young center. Going to be open for anyone. It also streamed online as well, we can tell you. But his body will make its way down the street that bears his name here in Louisville. In addition to President Clinton, he will be eulogized by Billy Crystal and Bryant Gumbel as well, two longtime friends.

And there will also be a gathering here at the Muhammad Ali center. You can see behind me, the memorial that popped up shortly after news spread of his death. That memorial continues to grow. But on Friday, folks will gather here as well.

This is a center that opened back in 2005, by the way. And its primary mission is to encourage a new generation of Muhammad Alis, if you will, in advocacy more so than in sport.

Reverend, you mentioned his final minutes. We can tell you his final hours and days, we can tell you he was surrounded by his family. He was surrounded by loved ones. One of his daughters, Hana, she posted on Instagram last night, as she was gathered by her father`s bedside, she said that all of his organs failed, but his heart wouldn`t stop beating for 30 minutes. No one had even seen anything like it. His nine children were able to say their good-byes.

I actually spoke to Laila Ali a couple of months ago. I was working on a separate story in California and asked her about her father and how he was doing. She told me then that he had been having some difficulties that he had been having some problems but he was a fighter. And she expected that he would be around for many, many years to come.

And we went into the hospital last week, Rev. A lot of folks thought this was just going to be one of those routine visits, but it turns out it was not. And as you indicated off the top, we lost the greatest.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it. Thank you, Craig Melvin, for your insight into the life of legacy of the champ in his hometown.

Now to get further insight, let`s talk to a man who was inspired by Muhammad Ali both the inside and outside of the ring. Joining me by phone is former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.

Thank you, first of all, for taking time this morning, Evander.


SHARPTON: You had a day of so to let the news sink in. What are your thoughts this morning about Muhammad Ali?

HOLYFIELD: Well, you know, I have always thought to always great about Ali because at the time when they had black history, you know, that`s how I got to know who Ali was. You know, I pretty much looked at Ali and Jackie Robinson. And I think when I was eight years old, I was told I could be like Ali. And I told my dad and my mom. My mom, she said, what? She knew how great Ali was. And I told the man, but I`m only eight years old. He told me I wouldn`t always be eight. She said, right, because next week I`m going to be nine. It is all in what you believe. And, you know, I made the Olympic team. I was light heavy like Ali. And pretty much Chris Hinkle at the time told me (INAUDIBLE) to be like Ali, (INAUDIBLE). SHARPTON: Let me ask you there, right on that point, Evander, Ali had a unique style in the ring. What made him special as you grew up being like Ali as you put it, what made him special, his style in the ring?

HOLYFIELD: Well, I mean, his face was the key. Here is a man who would sets up and back it up. And so, you know, so that means he knew his craft. He was a hard worker and he is a person that even though he was comical about the things that he did, but he did them. And you now, with me, I know my mama told me, you hold that tongue. And I was able to hold my tongue. But you know, I just think about how much -- how much -- how much pressure you put on yourself by what you say.


HOLYFIELD: And then you have to back it up. And so that was awesome.

SHARPTON: Now, you mentioned you won an Olympic medal like Ali did. What were your thoughts after hearing he would light the torch in the 1996 Olympics.

HOLYFIELD: Well, actually, I didn`t know because in 1996 I was hoping to light the torch. Because I was -- I wasn`t looking at Ali. I was looking at in the state of Georgia, who is the most popular person in the state of Georgia? Who was the first world champion? I was. And when the gal Harvey Schiller was telling me that you have good news and bad news. I said what is the good news? And the good news, you going to carry the torch. The bad news that you`re not going to light it. But I said, who is it? He said I can`t tell you. I cannot tell you. But you know, that, you know with me, I said I better be thankful. Because at the last second, I didn`t think I was going to touch it and I got the opportunity to. But it thrilled my heart so much when I saw, and the only time I realized is when he got to the end. (INAUDIBLE) It was Ali.

SHARPTON: I know -- you didn`t mind getting bumped for the champ and you did carry the torch there.

Evander Holyfield, former heavyweight champion, thank you for your time this morning.

Now let`s bring in Washington Post columnist Jerry Brewer. The headline on his latest column, Muhammad Ali is gone, but his voice still can be heard. Thanks for joining me this morning.


SHARPTON: Why do you think we`ll never see another star like Muhammad Ali?

BREWER: Well, I don`t know if you can combine the athletic skill with how pretty he was, how charismatic he was, how much audacity he had, and then you add the civil rights component and the political activism. Today`s athlete is simply too little thrilled, too -- they have it too easy in order to be like a Muhammad Ali. Maybe if times changed, we might see athletes who are willing to step up, but right now they`re just too privileged.

SHARPTON: Now, we once again are seeing some athletes from time to time. I know in my activism, some will still do something political. Is that part of Ali`s legacy?

BREWER: That absolutely is part of Ali`s legacy. And it is the most important part. I think when you say the greatest, and the greatest of all time, you can argue that he wasn`t the greatest boxer of all time. He certainly would be in everyone`s top three to five, but some people might prefer Sugar Ray Robinson, some may prefer Joe Louis or someone else. But when you add everything that comes to being a sports figure, and being an icon, unquestionably no one can touch Muhammad Ali.

SHARPTON: You write about Ali`s charisma and his ability to command attention even in his later years. What struck you about that?

BREWER: You know, what is really interesting to me, Reverend Al is, you know, I`m someone who is born in `78. I saw -- I was alive for his last four fights, three of which he lost because he held on to boxing too long. I have to go back and watch old videos and old footage to see what kind of athlete he was and to see the interviews with Howard Cosell and others to really understand the charisma.

You know, for me and people in my generation, our first real experience with Ali will always be when he lit the Olympic torch in `96 in Atlanta. And to see the tears in people`s eyes, to see the tears in my parent`s eyes and then to understand, you know, I was 18 at the time, and I thought I knew Muhammad Ali. And then I said, you know, I need to go back and really need to understand exactly who he is, and to understand why that provoked people to tears. And I think that is where, you know, there is this divide between -- there is this bold guy who came on to the scene in his 20s. And then he had his opportunities to really express his views on the world. And then came the guy later in life, you know, as Parkinson`s took over, as he lost his voice, as people really started to understand and digest all that he had done, and his iconic status, just like it multiplied from year to year to year.

SHARPTON: Jerry Brewer, thank you for your time and sharing with us this morning.

BREWER: Anytime.

SHARPTON: Ahead, we turn to a 2016 politics and a big day in the Democratic primary with voting in Puerto Rico. I`ll talk to Sanders supporter actor Danny Glover.

And later, more on Muhammad Ali and his lasting impact as an activist. Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People look for miracles, people look for surprises of all kind, yet the greatest wonder, the greatest miracle, the greatest surprise is to be found in one`s heart.



SHARPTON: Voters in Puerto Rico head to the polls today. And there are 60 delegates up for grabs could push Clinton to the brink of clinching the Democratic nomination. Even before the last big day of voting on Tuesday. The major question this morning, will it end the primary battle paving the way for the fight against Donald Trump or will in voting in six states including the big one California fuel Sanders campaign? Last night, he insisted the fight is going all the way to Philadelphia.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: At the end of the nominating process, no candidate will have enough pledged delegates to call the campaign a victory. They will be dependent upon super delegates. In other words, the democratic national convention will be a contested convention.


SHARPTON: MSNBC`s Tony Dokoupil is live in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where those delegates are up for grabs today.

Tony, what do voters there want to see happen with the Democratic ticket?

TONY DOKOUPIL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Reverend Al. So voters in Puerto Rico cannot vote for president directly there, excluded from the November election, but they can shape the outcome in the primary stage. They voted for Marco Rubio on the Republican side back in March. And today it is that crucial choice between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Voters are ling up behind us. The polls open about ten minutes ago. Just before the polls open, we had election workers come in and verify that all the voting machines were working, completely in sync and there were no irregularities, but the Bernie Sanders camp is upset with the process here today because they noted a steep decline in the number of polling locations.

So back in 2008, when it was Obama v. Clinton, there were more than 2,000 locations for people to cast their vote. As of May, just last month, there were 1500 available, but then they slashed that down to about 430. That`s all about budgetary cuts, but the Sanders people say this is a lot like Arizona where there was a reduction. This is voter suppression. It is going to alter the outcome.

Talking to voters here, it doesn`t seem that is actually true. Hillary Clinton has very strong support among the Puerto Rican people. She dominated in New York. She dominated in Florida. These are American states with the highest number of Puerto Ricans. And her policies are also attractive not a Clinton supporter there, but overall, her policies are attractive to a majority of Puerto Ricans.

It would appear, I mean, there could be an upside to that. But for example on the debt question, this is the key policy issue on the island now, the American Congress is debating whether to release to aide Puerto Rico and relieving its debt obligation. Hillary Clinton supports that effort. Bernie Sanders have complicated reasons having to do with his own opposition to big banks and Federal Reserve does not support that bailout that rescue. And the details can get lost. As a result, the people here casting their ballot, they like Clinton because, hey, she`s the one that is going to save Puerto Rico. Back to you.

SHARPTON: Tony Dokoupil in San Juan, thank you so much this morning.

Throughout the campaign, one of Sanders most high profile supporters has been actor and activist Danny Glover.


DANNY GLOVER, ACTOR: Wherever we look at the history for Bernie Sanders, we know he`s been on the compass for justice.

SANDERS: Let me give a special thanks to a good friend of mine and within of the great actors in our country, Danny Glover.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Danny Glover.

Thank you for being here this morning, Danny.

GLOVER: All right then. Thank you.

SHARPTON: You know, first, let`s ask the obvious question, why does Sanders get your support instead of Clinton?

GLOVER: Well, first of all, Bernie Sanders has been on the right side of justice and the fight for justice his entire career. I`ve had the opportunity to watch him engage people, and talk about the issues that affect them in everyday lives. And certainly his message is really a message that is time worn in terms of democracy, the most ordinary people participating in their lives and using their lives as a platform to participate in politics as well. And I think that`s what`s happening here. We`re in the midst of an enormous transition, I believe, within the political system. A stagnant political system that only meets the needs of a few and now we have this extraordinary movement or challenge to that right now. And that`s what that Bernie Sanders represents. He represents the message, not the personality.

SHARPTON: Now, Sanders wins California, let`s say, on Tuesday. Clinton could get enough combined delegates to secure the nomination anyway. Should Sanders go on, should he go all the way to the convention or should he try to unite and stop Donald Trump, Danny?

GLOVER: I think it is important. There is 64 percent of those people polled under the age of 25 say Sanders should stay until the end. So it is the people`s voices here right now, it is obvious. Those who registered as Democrats say that he should stay until the end and take this all the way to the convention.

SHARPTON: But he has gotten -- we talk about the people`s say, he`s gotten three million less votes. Let me ask you this, if she wins the nomination, whether he goes all the way or not, and it is Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, will you support and vote for Hillary Clinton?

GLOVER: Absolutely. Absolutely. Our objective is to defeat Donald Trump. But we believe the best chance of defeating Donald Trump is Bernie Sanders.

SHARPTON: Now, what do you say to those that say Sanders is hurting Hillary Clinton?

GLOVER: As Bernie Sanders popularity grows, it certainly draws a challenge to what is really happening and what are the real issues in this election. I think the part that Bernie Sanders plays in this, let`s say it, is simply the message that he brings to the population. And maybe that expectations of what we think governance should be and what our responsibility as those who are governed changes in this process as well.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you something that was interesting to me. Why hasn`t Bernie Sanders resonated equally with African-American and Latino voters including young voters? Because "the Washington Post," look at this graph, Danny, "the Washington Post" did accumulation of voters. These are votes, not polls. When you look at the millennials, Clinton gets 47 percent, Sanders, 52 percent. He`s only five percent higher than the millennials and then the young voters, 30 to 44, she gets 70 percent. He only gets 29. And as you get older, it even gets worse. Even among young black voters he`s not resonating like other young voters. What do you think the reason is for that?

GLOVER: Well, one of the things that certainly - I mean, Sanders has been in the race for a very short period of time. In fact, most people would say they should have gotten into the race earlier. But I think part of that is with familiarity. I think once you begin to hear the message that Bernie brings to the table, the talk about participatory democracy and the way he talks about participatory democracy, I think that we have another kind of way of building a consensus that this is more than just an election itself. This is for the soul of this country.

SHARPTON: How do you view Donald Trump? What goes through your mind when you watch Donald Trump?

GLOVER: Donald Trump is a very dangerous person. I mean, for this country. I mean, he`s very dangerous. And make no mistake about his demagoguery, racial demagoguery, his attitude toward women, and the things he would do. We have a Supreme Court, maybe as many as three justices will be chosen on this Supreme Court. So I think that Donald Trump is certainly someone that is very dangerous. I think that as I said before, the candidate I believe that has the best chance to defeat Donald Trump and the polls show that as well is Bernie Sanders.

SHARPTON: Well, thank you for being with us this morning. Danny Glover, thank you for your time.

GLOVER: Thank you. You`re welcome.

SHARPTON: Coming back, we will turn to Muhammad Ali, focusing on his impact outside of the ring on culture and politics including his anti-war activism. Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very few athletes are known as the greatest in their sport or in their time. But when you say the greatest of all time is in the room, everyone knows who you mean. It is quite a claim to make. But as Muhammad Ali once said, it is not bragging if you can back it up. And this man backed it up.


SHARPTON: The champ honored at the White House in 2005. But 40 years earlier, the United States government was trying to put him in prison. In 1967, Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted to fight in the Vietnam War claiming status as a conscientious objector. He was stripped of his title, arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. A sentence later overturned. He became a symbol for the anti-war movement, famously saying quote "I got no quarrel with the Vietcong."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There aren`t very many that protested the draft (INAUDIBLE). Did you think you`re setting an example that perhaps some of them --?

MUHAMMAD ALI, FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: I`m not out to set no example for nobody to follow. I`m a Muslim. I`m with 600 more million who believe the same as me. I`m just sticking to my religious beliefs and the holy Koran which was there before -- long before I was thought about coming into this world. I`m just following my religious beliefs. I`m not advising them or telling them nothing to do. I`m just following my religious beliefs to the death, if I day right now. Whatever happens will be the will of Allah. Many parts of the world, people are protesting. But still, I mean, I don`t rely on that. I rely totally on Allah, the lord of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just how far would you go to keep from taking up arms?

ALI: I`ll die. Yes. Anything that is against my religious beliefs I would rather face machine gunfire before deviating from the teachings of almighty God and the religion of Islam, I will die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, in this situation you wouldn`t die, you would go to jail.

ALI: No, I`m not saying where I would go. I`m just letting you know I`m going to stick 1,000 percent to my religious beliefs even if it means die.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Khalil Jibron Mohamed, director of Schaumburg Center for research in black culture. He also happens to be the great grandson from Elijah Muhammad from the nation of Islam, a key part of the champ`s activism in the `60. Thanks for being here, Dr. Mohamed.


SHARPTON: What impact did Ali`s anti-war stand have on that time? At that time?

MOHAMED: It was absolutely critical to the formation of people`s hard felt beliefs that the nation had made a huge mistake. That it was in the wrong fight. And those young people, all of them at these campuses -- white, black, Asian on the east coast and west coast, were fundamentally committed to challenging the wisdom of that war. It was certainly the reason that Lyndon Baines Johnson did not seek a second term as president of the United States.

It also unleashed fundamentally a series of really cataclysmic changes on college campuses. When you really think about 1967 when he was giving those remarks to John Lewis, he was talking about his religious beliefs, but he was also saying that the real enemy of my people is here in America. And if this is fight to free 22 million of my people, then that`s a fight you don`t have to draft me for.

SHARPTON: I think people don`t realize how controversial and despised he was at that time. I was a kid growing up, I got to know and work with him later as I got in my teens, but I was a kid, wasn`t even a teenager when he took that stand. And I remember how people would literally say that the ugliest things, people would pay to go to his fights and want to see him beaten and now he has become this beloved figure. How do you interpret what happened. Just before his time.

MOHAMED: He was before his time, but also part of a generational cohort. If you think about the age of Muhammad Ali, died at 74 years old, born in 1942, he is two years younger than John Lewis. John Lewis at almost the same moment that Muhammad Ali is rising up the race of an amateur boxer is shedding his ties to troy Alabama, moving to Nashville, Tennessee, so he can become a freedom rider and join the movement. So for young men and women, like Diane Nash of that generation, they really were breaking away from the generational practices of the old attitudes. And so, when he talked about Liston or you talked about Terrell as uncle Toms, what he was talking about were black people who settled to the status quo.

SHARPTON: Yes. And he was part of that generation that was going another way, in various manifestations.

You mentioned Liston, I want to show you something where right after the Sonny Liston fight where he first was -- first time he won the title, talked about how pretty he was. Watch this.


ALI: He wanted to go to heaven, so I took him in seven. You took him in seven. I`m the king of the world. I`m pretty.

Hold it, hold it, hold it. You`re not that pretty.


SHARPTON: Now, this was also at a time where we were seeing the developing of the black is beautiful movement.

MOHAMED: Absolutely. It is a great clip for that because he comes out of the Garvey movement which was an expression of self-pride and expression of self-knowledge, a commitment to black people as whole human beings. And this was picked up in the nation of Islam and advance by Elijah Mohammed and Malcolm X, my great grandfather. So when he becomes a member of the nation in 1964, right on the heels of the Liston fight and becomes a very close friend and confidant of Malcolm X, he is part of that flowering blackness on a stage that here to fore had not really transcended from the black community. As an athlete activist, he put it on a national and international stage.

Dr. Khalil Jibron Mohammed, thank you for your time this morning and your insight.

MOHAMED: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Just ahead, we`ll dive back into 2016 politics specifically the increasingly nasty war of words between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.


SHARPTON: Hillary Clinton is fighting a two front battle as primary season comes to a close. Still dealing with Bernie Sanders, but also unloading a much tougher series of attacks on Donald Trump.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bragging, mocking, composing nasty tweets, a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies. Do we want his finger anywhere near the button? He is not just unprepared, he is temperamentally unfit. This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes. This isn`t reality television. This is actual reality.


SHARPTON: NBC`s Hallie Jackson joins us from Washington this morning.

Hallie, is this a preview of the next five months and how is Trump responding to this?

HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, it is absolutely a preview of the next five months. I think you can say that even though Hillary Clinton is not yet the presumptive Democratic nominee, she is just the likely nominee, this is what we will see through November. You have seen it from Clinton more and more in the last week or so. She appears to be relishing the opportunity to go after Trump, Donald Trump in a very direct and very engaged way. You saw it earlier this week at the speech in San Diego, a sensibly foreign policy speech, but she really hit him hard on his qualifications to be commander in-chief.

Trump, for his part, is taking it to Hillary Clinton. He is talking about her email scandals, this week. He said she was quote "guilty as hell". He reiterated that. He reiterated his vow to have his attorney general investigate her again if he were to become the president.

So this is where the race is headed. We already have seen it. And there is no sign at this point that that`s going to change.

SHARPTON: If she clinches this, how does this affect the fight?

JACKSON: I don`t know that it will, frankly. I think that Donald Trump sees Hillary Clinton as his most likely opponent, obviously. What you see from him on the campaign trail are discussions about Bernie Sanders in the sense of, hey, Bernie Sanders is giving him some good lines. That is, by the way, a concern for the Democrats as well, the longer Sanders stays in this race, the more opportunities he gives Donald Trump to be able to point to Sanders during his campaigning. But I think that even if she clinches, you know what you already have seen from Donald Trump and his campaign, privately and publicly, saying, hey, we have gotten the nomination, Donald Trump`s team says they have gotten the nomination prior to Hillary Clinton clinching hers and before the contest in California on Tuesday. So if she does lock it up Tuesday, I`m not sure you`re going to see much of a change in tone from either candidate.

SHARPTON: Hallie Jackson in Washington, thank you so much this one.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, Democrat from California, who also chairs the Hispanic caucus. She has endorsed Mrs. Clinton.

Thank you for being here, congresswoman.

REP. LINDA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: So Congresswoman, it is neck and neck in California. How critical is it that Clinton wins this state of California on Tuesday?

SANCHEZ: Well, I think Hillary Clinton will win the state of California on Tuesday and I think she`ll do it by a comfortable margin. Not sure I agree that the polls that is out there is accurate. The sense I get from traveling all over the state and campaigning with other candidates is that there is a lot of support for Hillary Clinton and I think on Tuesday she clinches the nomination.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, there has been a lot of talk about super delegates. You`re a super delegate. The Sanders campaign and senator Sanders himself has said they`re going after the super delegates to change their minds, those that have said they`re with Secretary Clinton. Do you see that happening?

SANCHEZ: The important thing to remember is that even if you look at the current, you know, current lead that Secretary Clinton enjoys over Sanders, mathematically it is nearly impossible for senator Sanders to catch her. And that`s whether you include super delegates or not in the calculus. I think under any scenario, she is going to clinch the nomination on Tuesday and she`s going to be the democratic nominee.

SHARPTON: Now, you talked about polls. NBC News polls has the Latino vote in your state almost tied, 49 to 46 with senator Sanders up three points within the margin of error. Does that surprise you?

SANCHEZ: That polling surprises me because speaking for the district that I represent, the support is pretty overwhelming for Senator Clinton. And I know that senator Sanders tends to have an appeal with younger voters, the question becomes who are the likely voters and who is going to turn out on Tuesday. And I think if you look historically, the group of people least likely to vote unfortunately are 18 to 25-year-olds. And so while he may enjoy support among the group, whether or not they turn out and physically cast a vote for him remains to be seen.

SHARPTON: This week, Secretary Clinton launched some of her harshest attacks on Donald Trump, really went after him in her foreign policy speech. Does she have to find the balance of how she does that so that she doesn`t risk - been seeming to go to his level as some would say, or should she fight fire with fire as I and others said she has to be ready for a street fight here?

SANCHEZ: I got to tell you that Secretary Clinton is feisty. And when she`s in the right, I think she absolutely has every right to defend her ground and to level the kind of criticism against somebody who is clearly unqualified to be president of the United States. Donald Trump has no, you know, foreign relations experience. He has no diplomatic experience. He has no national security experience. He is clearly not qualified to hold the office of president of the United States. And I think that the more that secretary Clinton highlights that, I think the more that American public is going to understand there is no way this man should be sitting in the White House.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, thank you for your time this morning.

SANCHEZ: What a pleasure to be with you. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, our visit to Brooklyn, talking to Spike Lee and others about Muhammad Ali. And what the Boxer meant to his fans, both in and out of the ring.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like to know what you`re going to do when you retire from box in boxing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think -- I think he`s probably taking the last count for the moment. I`ll do my best to wake him up.

ALI: Sleep. That`s all I`m going to do.



ALI: If we study the qualities of the heart, we`ll find that the heart quality is a loving quality. It becomes the loving manner, the manner of God himself, and all such attributes of greatness, tolerance, gentleness, mercy, compassion, spring from the heart.


SHARPTON: Muhammad Ali was always beloved in the community. We decided to do something a little different from what you`ve been seeing in all the news reports of his death.

On Saturday, Spike Lee was having a block party in Brooklyn, originally set up as a birthday tribute to Prince. But, of course, Muhammad Ali was on the minds of people there as well. We went down there and caught up with spike and basketball star John Salley and other folks in the street and talked to them about what the champ meant to them.


SHARPTON: What does it mean to you to come back to the streets of Brooklyn where both --?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had no idea that we`re doing this day for prince, that there would also be room for Muhammad Ali, the greatest of all time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ledge end, definitely an iconic figure for the community, for African-American people, for the sport of boxing.

JOHN SALLEY, FORMER BASKETBALL TEAM: Muhammad Ali was definitely my hero, besides my father. I got to meet my hero and he heard all the things I said over the year and grabbed me close and kissed me on my cheek and I literally cried on television.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was the greatest. North, east, south and west, he`s the greatest. I`m going to miss him. God bless his soul. I`m going to miss Muhammad Ali. He came a long way for his people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is how we do it in Brooklyn, right here to the camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to make you big. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We said, I`m not going to go to Vietnam War. No Vietnam person ever call me -- that was powerful to me. The man exemplified courage. He gave away his prime years, his prime years because he did not want to participate in the Vietnam War.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever his beliefs were, he stood up for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My favorite plays are the ones who are loud. Muhammad Ali was the first athlete we saw on television do that. Talk about his looks, talk about how beautiful black people are, how it`s natural.

SHARPTON: The reason I grabbed this brother is because you and I were little brothers looking at guys like Ali and it made and inspired us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many Brooklyn, New York.

SHARPTON: Back here on the block.


SHARPTON: All right. Thank you, Spike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Peace.


SHARPTON: Peace. That was something Muhammad Ali was all about for his whole life.

When we come back, my parting thoughts on my friend.


SHARPTON: Finally, a few words on the passing of my friend, Muhammad Ali. I knew the champ for four decades. He was one of the funniest people I`ve ever met. He could goof around like nobody else. And he was always willing to help out the younger generation. Way back in 1981, Muhammad Ali and James Brown brought me on to the national TV show, talk show circuit, to talk about problems facing the youth. I was just in my 20s, but learning from with two of the greatest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joining James Brown, Muhammad Ali and myself, and I`m from New York City is the Reverend Al Sharpton.

I would like to ask you about this young man, how you came to meet him and what the national youth movement which you represents is all about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). And the idea is it try to mold them. We think of anything to think of them as a baby. And what we mold them to be is what it would be later on.

ALI: They can be educating. They go to school. They learn.

SHARPTON: We`re saying you may not reach the plateau of public prominence of them, but if you can reach the personal discipline and motivation of them you can reach a plateau in your life.


SHARPTON: Muhammad Ali believed in spreading love and joy all over the world. But he also directly helped the generation behind him. And I remember one of our Mass Action board members, (INAUDIBLE) said to me, you know, cam Newton, the star quarterback is a great fan of Muhammad Ali. He is a generation behind (INAUDIBLE). He said on his birthday, can you get his wife Lonnie, to surprise him with a birthday card. And it would mean a lot to him since Ali is sick, but that his wife, who was -- I pay tribute to her, she really took care of Ali, I called her, she said, sure, we`ll do it I`d be glad to do it. She gave me the time, I called her, I connected Cam Newton and surprised him and said happy birthday, it is Reverend Al. I have Mrs. Muhammad Ali on phone. He says, really? For me? She came on and Lonnie said happy birthday, but hold on and we heard mumbling. Man, you almost as pretty as me. Muhammad Ali, even in his illness, just a couple of years ago, still inspiring people, younger than him, older than him, all over the world.

That does it for me. Thanks for watching. I`ll see you back here next Sunday. God bless you and yours. And God bless Muhammad Ali.