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Muhammad Ali's Playful Sense Of Humor Shines In 2001 'Oprah' Clip

The boxing legend made a rare public appearance to discuss the biopic "Ali."

The late Muhammad Ali retired from boxing in 1981 having broken several records, but by 2001, there was a different title he could proudly claim, according to the Guinness Book of World Records: the most written-about person in history.

Thanks to a decades-long career as a celebrated athlete, the heavyweight boxing champ was often in the public eye and well-known far beyond the world of sports. After Ali's 1984 diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, however, he made fewer and fewer public appearances. Then, with the release of the biopic "Ali" starring Will Smith in 2001, the fighter made a rare public appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Joining Smith and Oprah on stage in December of that year, Ali opened up about how he felt in regards to Smith's performance. "He's almost as pretty as me," Ali joked. 

As for Smith's physical portrayal of Ali and his moves in the ring, Ali continued with his trademark humor.

"He scared me," Ali joked, later adding, "He's not as dumb as he looks."

Then, the athlete and father of nine turned serious for a moment, explaining what it meant to him to have such a film devoted to his life.

"People who don't really know much about it, it'll tell them more about who I am. They'll understand more about the legend of Muhammad Ali, Cassius Clay," Ali said. "It's a big honor. It makes me feel good that somebody [would] take the time to make a movie about my life. It [gives] me a humbled feeling."

Another glimpse at "The Greatest":

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