It’s the first feature-length production for HBO from James’ SpringHill Entertainment.
There have been countless Muhammad Ali documentaries, and many of them are acclaimed tributes to one of the most remarkable Americans of the modern age. “When We Were Kings,” an invigorating examination of Ali’s 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” fight against George Foreman, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1996. Filmmaker Clare Lewin’s 2014’s “I Am Ali” was nominated for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary.
But HBO’s “What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali” is the first documentary told by a fellow professional athlete and cultural icon. LeBron James is an executive producer and, much like his subject, he’s an easy argument for the greatest to ever play his sport, as well as a philanthropist and an activist. James is also 34, around the same age Ali was when he started talking about retiring from boxing, although he didn’t officially step out of the ring for good for five more years. The parallels between the two are obvious and purposeful, and that gives this documentary a powerful resonance about the physical price paid by elite athletes who strive to make a societal impact.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, “What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali” debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival; HBO will air t