ESPN Explores Muhammad Ali’s Connection To Rap Music

In a new documentary,

cable network ESPN explores the theory that boxing legend Muhammad Ali unknowingly

invented rap music in a new original program entitled, Ali Rap. Hosted

by Public Enemy front man Chuck D, the documentary attempts to hypothesize that

Ali invented rap by closely examines the relationship between the famed boxer

and Hip-Hop. The one-hour show will focus on Ali’s famous quotations

and witticisms as told by Ali himself and several celebrities including James

Earl Jones, Diane Sawyer, Al Sharpton, Adam Corolla, Ludacris and Bill Maher.

“While it’s difficult to prove Ali invented rap music, it’s almost indisputable

that he spawned what is now referred to as ‘the modern athlete,’ a term that’s

generally used as coded, pejorative language,” writes Chuck Klosterman for

ESPN.com. “When someone complains about ‘the modern athlete,’ he or she is

usually just saying, ‘this particular black athlete behaves like a rap star, even

though I’ve never actually listened to rap music in my entire life.’ “These

perceived traits include overt self-promotion, indifference toward authority,

and confidence that hemorrhages into arrogance,” continues Klosterman. “As

such, the relationship among Ali, sport, and rap is latently omnipresent, and

examples of that three-pronged relationship are everywhere.” Ali

Rap is based on the book by George Lois, in which he collected more than 300

quotable moments during the boxing icon’s long and storied career. Lois

met Ali at the 1960 Olympics in Rome and the two have maintained a friendship

that has spanned nearly 50 years.Ali

Rap is set to air Saturday (Dec. 9) at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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