April 3, 2009
Contact:
Jacqueline Cartier, NPR


   

MUHAMMAD ALI TO SHARE PERSONAL ESSAY ON HIS UNYIELDING SELF-CONFIDENCE
ON NPR’S THIS I BELIEVE SERIES

AIRING ON ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2009


Washington, D.C.; April 3, 2009 – Offering insights for both in the ring and out, the three-time World Heavyweight Champion and Olympic gold medalist, Muhammad Ali shares his beliefs with NPR listeners in a personal essay for the NPR series, This I Believe. Ali’s wife Lonnie will read his essay, with a brief introduction from Ali himself, during NPR News’ All Things Considered on Monday, April 6. For local stations and broadcast times for the program, visit http://www.npr.org/stations

Known to the world as “The Greatest”, Ali writes that he has always believed in himself. Confidence was instilled at a young age and from playing marbles to jumping over the highest hedge, he says “I never even thought of losing.” Ali’s confidence continued to grow into his high school years. “I boasted weekly -- if not daily -- that one day I was going to be the heavy weight champion of the world...When I proclaimed that I was the Greatest of all Time, I believed in myself. And I still do.”

In 1984, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and says that if anything were to break his confidence it would be the degenerative and debilitating disease, but his belief is stronger he explained “my confidence and will to continue to live life as I choose won’t be compromised.” Now retired from the ring and fighting the disease, Ali concludes that, “Nothing in life has defeated me. I am still the Greatest. This I believe.”

Ali’s essay marks the last This I Believe piece to air on All Things Considered, as the series concludes on April 26, 2009 on Weekend Edition Sunday. Throughout its successful run, more than 65,000 NPR listeners have submitted essays to This I Believe. Ali joins a list of well-known and everyday essayists who have contributed to the series since its premiere in 2005, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates; Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel; and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

This I Believe essay writing has been incorporated into the activities of schools, community groups, places of worship as well as birthday celebrations, weddings and funerals, and to date, This I Believe essays have ranked among the top e-mailed stories on NPR.org. To listen or to read past submissions, please visit http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story. For the past four years, a new essay has aired each week, alternating among the NPR newsmagazines All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Tell Me More. The series has been a collaboration between NPR and This I Believe, Inc., produced by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, with John Gregory and Viki Merrick.