Muhammad Ali Would've Loved ESPN Award Being Renamed After Him, Daughter Says

Columbia Pictures / Photofest
Muhammad Ali in 'The Greatest.'

"My dad was very humble, but at the same time, he loved attention, so he would love being recognized," Laila Ali says.

Muhammad Ali would be thrilled that the ESPN award that recognizes positive impact in society from the sports world has been renamed after him, his daughter, Laila Ali, told The Hollywood Reporter

For the third year in a row, Ali will host the Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards. 

And while she has a blast every year, she told THR the renaming of the signature award after her late father makes the event that much more special. 

"I think it is amazing. I am super excited," she said. "They mentioned to me last year [the rename] was a possibility, and I am happy they were able to make it happen." 

As for her father's reaction, Ali said he would have been thrilled.

"My dad was very humble, but at the same time, he loved attention, so he would love being recognized," Ali said. "He would be honored." 

The Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award is given "to an athlete whose continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a measured, positive impact on their community through sports," according to ESPN

This year's finalists are Ernie Els (PGA Tour), Larry Fitzgerald (NFL's Arizona Cardinals), Mark Giordano (NHL's Calgary Flames) and Curtis Granderson (MLB's New York Mets).

"Those who are honorees are reflective of my father's incredible legacy," Ali said. 

The event will be held July 11 at L.A. Live’s The Novo, a move from that facility's Conga Room due to the event's growth. 

Ali will be joined for the first time by a co-host, ESPN's Mike Greenberg.

The other awards and finalists are as follows.

Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award — Chicago White Sox (MLB), Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), New York City Football Club (MLS) and San Francisco 49ers (NFL).

Corporate Community Impact Award — Chevron, Dick's Sporting Goods, HOK and Under Armour. 

League Humanitarian Leadership Award — finalists not announced in advance.

Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award — WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon, Orlando City Soccer Club and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality.

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