I really like ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. Which is weird, because I just don’t like movies. You may say that these are sport movies, but mostly they’re not – they’re movies about people, with sport as the vehicle.
I just watched the Muhammad Ali/Larry Holmes one, and while it wasn’t all that good, there was one little bit that made it worth watching, a story told by legendary boxing writer Jerry Izenberg about the night Ali lost to Larry Holmes:
“Late in the evening – long after the fight – after Sinatra gave his fight eulogy (for Ali) in the grand showroom and all the people applauded, I walked into the men’s room – on the first floor of Caesars (Palace) and there was an old Afro-American gentleman tending the bathroom and I said to the guy, “Do you mind if I ask you a question? Did you bet on the fight tonight?”
He said, “Yes, I did.”
I asked, “Do you mind telling me who you bet on?”
And he looked at me and said, “I bet on Muhammad Ali.”
I asked, “Do you mind telling me why?”
He said, “Why? Because he gave me my dignity.”