He was G.O.A.T. The greatest of all time. But heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali was also a father.
Daughter Laila Ali was in Miami Monday at the 54th Annual World Boxing Council Convention at the Diplomat Hotel to pay homage to the legendary fighter who died in June after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
We caught up with Ali, who is a boxer in her own right, fighting professionally (undefeated) from 1999 until her retirement in 2007.
The 38 year old Los Angeles resident now runs a lifestyle blog, is a happily married mom of two (husband is retired NFL player Curtis Conway) and will be a contestant on the newly launched “Celebrity Apprentice,” airing in January on NBC.
How was the convention?
A couple of things were going on. The opening ceremony was dedicated to my father. It was nice, all the champs come out like Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis and educate fans about the WBC and how it works. I took a lot of photos with people who are excited to see you and meet you, which I don’t mind at all. There’s always going to be that connection, especially now that he is gone. People love my dad. I’ve been dealing with this my whole life.
LeBron James just announced he was co-producing a documentary on your father for HBO. What did you think about that?
Over the years there have been a lot of documentaries about him; sometimes I can’t keep up. But that’s cool. I’m a fan of LeBron’s and he’s been a great supporter [the former Miami Heat star donated $2.5 million to support the Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture]. It’s nice to hear.
So tell us about the new “Celebrity Apprentice,” the first cast without Donald Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger at the helm.
I’d been asked to do it multiple times and I turned it down. But when they told me it would be all new with talent like Jessica Alba, Tyra Banks and Warren Buffett, that’s what inspired me to say yes. It’s a whole different vibe this time. It’s kind of more in line with me. Arnold’s an actor. There’s a comedic side to him and the show is very focused on innnovation and technology with the beautiful backdrop of L.A.
What was your biggest challenge?
Well, all of a sudden, you’re a business executive with these hard tasks and obstacles with not enough time. You wonder how you can pull it all together and work as a team. Then there was the boardroom and eliminations all that. It could be very nerve wracking. But I came to win. There can be only one winner.