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Listen: Laila Ali Remembers Her Father Muhammad Ali's Legacy One Year After His Death

“My father. no matter where he would go, he would just bring people to tears," the professional boxer, author, and TV personality told ESSENCE. 


On June 4, 2016, the death of boxing legend Muhammad Ali shock the world.  Now, a year after the professional boxer and civil rights activist died after battling Parkinson’s disease for more than a decade, Laila Ali celebrates the life and legacy of her father. 

The fellow boxer, author and television personality is one of nine children of the late boxer. Her reflection of her father’s legacy is that he was someone “who really stayed true to himself” and “believed” in what he stood for. 

While Ali said that she appreciated the arousing support from across the nation and beyond, it didn’t surprise her. 

“My father, no matter where he would go, he would bring people to tears … so I wasn’t really surprised by the outpouring that there was when he passed away. But it was appreciated that people cared so much,” Ali told ESSENCE.

The 39-year-old mother also opened up about how her career in the boxing profession opened up her father’s eyes when it comes to women being professional boxers. 

“When I first started boxing, I reflect on the conversations that I had with him when he wasn’t too happy about my decision to start boxing. And didn’t really even feel that women should be fighting in the first place … [but] I remember having another conversation when he changed his mind and said ‘women can fight and you’ve shown me that,'” Ali continued. 

One of the most recent ways that Ali is continuing to share her father’s legacy is through her debut cookbook, Food for Life: Delicious & Healthy Comfort Food From My Table To Yours!

The book, which is slated to publish in January, offers over 100 recipes of real-life recipes such as Stovetop Ratatouille, Oven-“Fried” Chicken, West Coast Southern Greens and Heavenly Lemon Yogurt Cake.

“My father and I both have always had a love affair with tasty homemade meals and comfort foods. Another thing my father loved was a great burger at some of the local burger joints he encountered during his worldwide travels. So when my dad was still alive and well, to surprise him during one of my trips to visit him in Arizona, I shared with him that I named one of his favorite burgers after him. It’s called ‘The Ali Burger,” Ali said. 

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