DAVID BIANCULLI

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JONATHAN STORM

 
 
 
 
 
WHAT'S MY NAME?: MUHAMMAD ALI
May 14, 2019  | By David Bianculli

HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

 

DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE: Director Antoine Fuqua and writer Steven Leckart have crafted this two-part documentary biography of the former Cassius Clay. It’s a powerful study, and both parts are shown tonight, so settle in and watch with intrigue, to get more proof about how early, and how consistently, the man calling himself “the Greatest” was battling more than rival boxers in his pursuit of freedom, justice, equality and celebrity. What’s My Name? is better than most Ali documentaries at putting us in his frame of mind, and in the ring with him, to understand what was at stake in his many major bouts. But also, by showing footage from his days with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., this documentary shows us how willing he was, from the start, to fight fiercely for his beliefs outside the ring as well. Stay for the end, and you get the two best clips from Ali’s final years: His interview with Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes, and his triumphant lighting of the Olympic torch in 1996. It’s worth noting that the producers of What’s My Name? include LeBron James, who, with this documentary and his talk series The Shop, has done a champion’s job of presenting TV shows for HBO that reveal the histories and intricacies of sports and race. For a full review, see Ed Bark's Uncle Barky's Bytes.

 
 
 
 
 
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