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After Jeff Bezos presented Johnson with the People's Champion Award, the actor paid tribute to Muhammad Ali.
"For those who may know or for those who may not know, but the original People's Champion, right, was the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali," Johnson said. "I first met Muhammed when I was a little boy, and he was so cool to me. He was so kind, and he was so funny. He made me laugh. I met him a couple of times later down the road, and he was always wonderful to me."
The Rock then told the story of how the legendary boxer gave him his blessing to be called the People's Champion at one of Johnson's wrestling matches in Louisville, Kentucky. As he recalled, "[His wife] said, 'He told me to tell you you are the People's Champion, you have earned it, you take that title.'"
Johnson said the last time he saw Ali, who died in 2016, was at an event for the nonprofit organization Make-A-Wish. The former WWE star then invited Make-A-Wish recipient Shushana to join him on the stage and gave her his trophy.
"She has no idea I'm doing this. Her name is Shushana. Shushana, can you stand up? Shushana, will you please join me?" he said. "Guys, this is Shushana. Say hello. This is a total surprise. I met her earlier. I told her how inspired I was by her story. She is a survivor. She has fought literally for her life. She has inspired her family, her friends, now you guys here, now the world that is watching. Thank you so much for this."
Johnson added, "I just want to tell you that you know Muhammad Ali, one of my favorite quotes that he says is, 'The service to others is the rent you pay for the room you have here on Earth.' And I want to tell you just how much you've inspired me and everyone around you and certainly everyone here. But I want to give you this because you represent everything that it means to be a People's Champion. So this is for you."
Shushana then shared a few words. "First, thank you for this," she said. "I didn't expect this at all. But I mean, thank you to Make-A-Wish in general. I never expected something like this could happen. This is crazy. I never thought just from being sick that it could end up in this, surviving something, you could...yeah. Thank you so much to you and to Make-A-Wish."