LeBron James producing Muhammad Ali documentary for HBO
LeBron James knows a thing or two about being called great. Feted as a future NBA superstar while still in high school, James went on to maximize his potential, most recently by bringing a sports championship to his home city of Cleveland for the first time in 50 years and being named Sports Illustrated‘s Sportsman of the Year. James is qualified, therefore, to oversee a multi-part documentary about Muhammad Ali, who called himself “The Greatest” and backed it up by performing several of the most incredible athletic feats of the 20th century. James is producing the still-untitled project, which will be directed by Antonie Fuqua (The Magnificent Seven, Southpaw) for HBO, the network announced Monday.
“It’s tough to put into words how much it means to me to be a part of this project honoring the legacy and telling the extremely important story of the great Muhammad Ali,” James said in a statement. “He transcended sports and used his platform to empower people, which paved the way for all athletes and people of every race and gender that came after him, myself included. It’s important that his story continues for generations to come, and it’s an honor for SpringHill Entertainment and me to be a part of this.”
The documentary is being made with the full participation of the Muhammad Ali family estate and will include never-before-seen photos and coverage from the family’s private collection alongside cinematic recreations of the more famous moments in Ali’s life. According to HBO, the documentary will cover all of Ali’s biggest moments, ranging from his beginnings as a scrappy young Kentucky boxer named Cassius Clay, through his public embrace of Islam and famous repudiation of the Vietnam War, through his boxing comebacks and ultimate physical decline from Parkinson’s disease. The film, therefore, will have a wider scope than previous Ali documentaries like Leon Gast’s When We Were Kings, which focused specifically on Ali’s 1974 championship fight with George Foreman in Zaire (a.k.a. “The Rumble in the Jungle”).
Title and release date for the documentary are still forthcoming.