ESPN and Grantland have premiered the latest in the network’s 30 for 30 shorts series. Ali: The Mission can be viewed online now at grantland.com. The short, which is narrated by music star John Legend, follows boxer Muhammad Ali’s 1990 mission to free hostages being held in Iraq. Ali’s mission in question took him to Iraq and a face to face meeting with then dictator Saddam Hussein. Ali met with Hussein to try and negotiate the release of Americans who had been taken hostage after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. The hostages in question were being used as “human shields” to try and prevent American forces from striking the region. Ali’s mission was a success, bringing home a total of fifteen hostages. And six weeks afterwards, the U.S. embarked on Operation Desert Storm on January 16th, 1991.
When asked about Ali and narrating this latest short, Legend said, “There are so many stories and myths out there about The Greatest, but this one struck a personal chord with me as I don’t know that people today are even aware of Ali’s immense philanthropic work or this specific mission to Iraq before Desert Storm began.” He went on to share his thoughts on being part of ESPN’s latest project saying, “Entertainers and athletes are often blessed with a platform from which to improve the world, and it was an honor for me to be the voice of this film showcasing the incredible journey Ali made that changed the lives of these hostages forever.”
The new short was directed by Amani Martin (Benji, HBO’s Brooklyn Dodgers, The Ghosts of Flatbush). It features interviews with and stories from the hostages themselves. The individuals in question will share their stories and reactions to everything that unfolded through Ali’s negotiations with Hussein. It can be viewed at grantland.com now at http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8849155/the-latest-offering-new-30-30-documentary-series or at ESPN online at http://espn.go.com/30for30/film?page=ali-the-mission.
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