LeBron James is teaming with Antoine Fuqua for a docu-series about late boxing champion Muhammad Ali. The as-yet-untitled project, which is currently in production, will be executive produced by the athlete’s SpringHill Entertainment and the filmmaker’s Fuqua Films.
HBO announced the news Monday, Dec. 12, noting the multi-part docu-series has the complete backing of the Ali estate and will feature archival footage and re-enactments about the boxer’s life and career. Additionally, the family provided never-before-seen photos and footage for the effort. An air date has not yet been released.
“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. “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.”
Ali died in June at the age of 74. The three-time heavyweight boxing champion made a mark on history not just for his athletic prowess but also for his activism, which included refusing to fight in the Vietnam War and joining the Nation of Islam, which focuses on Black self-empowerment. The latter led him to change his name from Cassius Clay to his well-known moniker.
Such life experiences are what his widow, Lonnie Ali spoke about in her statement.
“I’m hopeful this documentary will engage the audience in a similar way Muhammad engaged his audience and fans,” she said. “Without a doubt, Muhammad’s life journey provides simple yet extraordinary lessons for all of us, with perhaps the most important one being to see and embrace the humanity in all people.”
Fuqua, who will direct the series, added that Ali made an impression on him early on.
“Being given the opportunity to tell his story, both inside and outside of the ring, is a privilege and a dream come true,” Fuqua said. “And I couldn’t have found better partners than LeBron and HBO to help memorialize ‘The Greatest of All Time.'”
The project will add to the acclaimed filmmaker’s already impressive list of works, including “The Magnificent Seven,” “South Paw” and “Training Day.”