In memory of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network presented a special re-airing of the boxer’s rare television interview from The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2001. During this sit-down interview, Winfrey chats with Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Muhammad Ali about the film Ali, a biography about the sports legend’s life.
Smith discussed the two years he devoted to preparing for the physically demanding role of Ali, the boxer’s response when he found out Smith would be playing him, and the impact Ali had on the world. Ali shared his thoughts on Smith’s portrayal of him in the film, whether Smith adequately captured his famous “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” moves, and the honor he felt seeing his life story on the big screen.
The Ali biopic, which was directed by Michael Mann, is set to get a limited release in cinemas in the U.S. in tribute to the late champ. A spokesperson for Sony Pictures said, “With the passing of Muhammad Ali, we have received many requests for this film to return to theaters, in celebration of his life,” adding that the film “truly honors everything that made Ali one of the central figures of our time.” Smith’s portrayal of Ali earned him an Academy Award nomination.
Smith and ex-boxer Lennox Lewis are among the pallbearers at Ali’s funeral, while former President Bill Clinton will deliver one of the eulogies. A procession will take Ali’s body past key sites in his life, ahead of an interfaith memorial service. Tens of thousands of people are set to say a final farewell to boxing legend in his home city of Louisville, Kentucky. The heavyweight champion and rights activist died at the age of 74.
Here are the top 10 takeaways from Smith during the Oprah Winfrey Show:
- Muhammad Ali was the most written about human being in history, according to the Guinness World Book of Records.
- Ali was honored and humbled that someone took time to tell the story of his life.
- Champions are made from something they have deep inside of them—a desire, a dream, a vision.
- If you want to be the champ over your life, you have to keep fighting.
- Connecting with people is more important than making money.
- The repetition of affirmations leads to belief, and once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
- Boxing is the best workout regimen for the mind, body, and spirit.
- Black people should never be content to have just one-sided images of themselves presented in music or entertainment.
- Be a champion for numerous causes; that is the true definition of greatness.
- Don’t be what anyone else wants you to be; be free to be who you want to be.