Laila Ali pays emotional tribute to father Muhammad Ali at BET Awards

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Laila Ali Reflects on Bond With Dad, Muhammad: 'I Was Touched By an Angel'


Laila Ali took the stage at the 2016 BET Awards on Sunday night to pay tribute to her father, the late Muhammad Ali, who died earlier this month after a decades-long battle with Parkinson's disease.

"My father, Muhammad Ali, lived his life with conviction and purpose," Laila told the crowd, who tributed her father with a standing ovation. "He is known the world over as the greatest athlete of all time, a man who fearlessly faced opposition both in and out of the ring. But to me and my eight sisters and brothers, he was just 'Dad.'"

WATCH: Muhammad Ali Funeral: Thousands Gather in Louisville, Kentucky to Remember the Boxing Legend

Laila was introduced onstage by Jamie Foxx, who met Ali on the set of his 2001 biopic, in which Foxx played Drew Bundini Brown opposite Will Smith as The Greatest.

"My father always said, 'The man who views the world at 50 the same way that he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life,'" recounted Laila, who grew emotional describing her father as a "loving, gentle, and principled man."

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Laila Ali at the BET Awards
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Laila Ali at the BET Awards
Laila Ali speaks about her father, the late boxer Muhammad Ali, during the In Memoriam segment at the 2016 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Laila Ali speaks about her father, the late boxer Muhammad Ali, during the In Memoriam segment at the 2016 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: An image of late boxer Muhammad Ali is projected onto a screen as retired boxer Laila Ali speaks onstage during the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images for BET)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: An image of late boxer Muhammad Ali is projected onto a screen as retired boxer Laila Ali speaks onstage during the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images for BET)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: (L-R) Professional boxer Laila Ali, actor Jamie Foxx and daughter Annalise Bishop speak onstage during the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images for BET)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Retired boxer Laila Ali speaks onstage during the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images for BET)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Retired boxer Laila Ali attends the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paras Griffin/BET/Getty Images for BET)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Retired boxer Laila Ali speaks onstage during the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images for BET)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Professional boxer Laila Ali attends the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/BET/Getty Images for BET)
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"As my dad grew older, he evolved in his mind, his heart, and his spirit, but one thing that never changed was his love and gratitude for all people," she added. "These past few weeks, my father's generosity and love has been matched by a worldwide outpouring of love and reverence for him and our entire family."

Laila concluded her speech by thanking fans for the "love, kindness and appreciation" that's been shown in the weeks since her father's death.

"My father once said, 'If people loved each other as much as they love me, it would be a better world,'" she remembered. "If he was here today, he would ask you to pray, not just for our family, but for all of mankind."

EXCLUSIVE: Muhammad Ali's Daughters, Rasheda and Jamillah, Remember Their Father's 'Beautiful' Final Moments

Laila spoke to ET ahead of her father's funeral on June 10, where she opened up about the sports legend's relationship with Smith, who served as a pallbearer during the ceremony.

"My father had a big impact on his life," she said. "He did a tremendous job playing that role, and he will forever be associated with my father, because as an actor, that's kind of a spiritual thing, playing Muhammad Ali -- and being able to do it so well."

EXCLUSIVE: Muhammad Ali's Daughter Laila Says Will Smith's Portrayal of Her Father Was 'Phenomenal'

PHOTOS: See the 2016 BET Award Red Carpet Arrivals

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2016 BET Awards Red Carpet Arrivals
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2016 BET Awards Red Carpet Arrivals
Taraji P. Henson (Photo by Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images for BET)
Gabrielle Union (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
Andra Day (Getty)
Meagan Good (Photo by Paras Griffin/BET/Getty Images for BET)
DJ Khaled  (Photo by Earl Gibson/BET/Getty Images for BET)
Naturi Naughton (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
 Mya  (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
 Janelle Monae  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Tracee Ellis Ross a (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
 French Montana  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Bryshere Y. Gray  (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Fantasia Barrino is wearing a spike earring and cross necklace (worn as a bracelet) by La Soula and a cuff bracelet by Tulah Jem.  

(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)

Tisha Campbell-Martin  (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
Jesse Williams (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
Samuel L. Jackson (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
Tia Mowry  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
 Quvenzhane Wallis (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
MzVee  (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
 Sophie Beem  (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
 Karrueche Tran (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
Yara Shahidi  (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
 Loni Love  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Orlando Jones  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
 Nandi Mngoma  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Millen Magese  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
 Mara  (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
 Danielle Mone Truitt (Photo by Maury Phillips/BET/Getty Images for BET)
Remy Ma (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
Yvette Nicole Brown  and Marcus Scribner (Photo by Earl Gibson/BET/Getty Images for BET)
Jasmine Sanders (Photo by Earl Gibson/BET/Getty Images for BET)
LeToya Luckett  (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
 Diamond Platnumz  (Photo by Earl Gibson/BET/Getty Images for BET)
Marcus Scribner (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
Katlynn Simone (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
 Morris Chestnut (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Zulay Henao (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
 Eva Marcille  (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
Anthony Anderson  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Jermaine Dupri (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
 Miles Brown (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
 2 Chainz  (Photo by Maury Phillips/BET/Getty Images for BET)
 Questlove  (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
 Kristal Lyndriette, Ashley Williams, Shyann Roberts, Brienna DeVlugt and Gabby Carreiro of June's Diary (Photo by Paras Griffin/BET/Getty Images for BET)
 Desiigner (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
Regina Hall (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
Samamat (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
Anthony Hamilton  (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
Irv Gotti (L) and recording artist Ashley Martelle  (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
Mayte Garcia (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Marsai Martin (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
 The Roots  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
 Fabolous  (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
MAJOR. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Actress Lela Loren attends the Make A Wish VIP Experience at the 2016 BET Awards on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Actor Rob Hardy (L) and Shaun Hardy attend the 2016 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Singer Anthony Brown attends the 2016 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Actress Tasha Smith attends the Make A Wish VIP Experience at the 2016 BET Awards on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Singer Tinashe attends the 2016 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Actor Keith Powers attends the Nissan red carpet during the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/BET/Getty Images for BET)
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