A creative remembrance of Muhammad Ali
Rounding up notable books, magazine articles, films and photography devoted to one of the most influential sports and public figures of the 20th century.
The imaginative work that flowed from the life, times and splendid athletic and public career of Muhammad Ali was often worthy of the boxer’s legend, and not just because legions of writers, filmmakers and artists around the world had an ideal subject to portray.
Those who wrote about, drew, filmed and created other portraits of one of the most influential sports and cultural figures of the 20th century were heavyweights of their own literary, journalistic, cinematic and artistic domains, and their Ali-related output is just as unforgettable as the man who provided the raw material.
As Janan Ganesh wrote in The Financial Times in February, as an Ali exhibit opened in London, it was his less saintly side that attracted the literati.
The poetic, loquacious and often bombastic Ali, who died in Phoenix Friday at the age of 74 (here’s Robert Lipsyte’s tremendous NYT obituary), didn’t really need anyone to articulate for him.
Even after the onset of Parkinson’s disease, with which he lived for more than 30 years, Ali attracted the attention of younger generations who never saw him in the ring, but did witness his poignant, trembling lighting of the torch during the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.