Former ESPN producer reminisces on time with his friend, Muhammad Ali

(WTNH)–Craig Mortalil a former producer for 30 years at ESPN, got to live out a childhood dream, and that was getting to know his hero, Muhammad Ali. It happened when he was assigned to do a documentary on the boxing legend, and from then on, they became friends.

Mortali said he first met Ali in March of 1993.

“He was so approachable, I felt immediately comfortable with him,” Mortali said. “He had a knack for making you feel like you were the most important person in the room.”

Mortali was part of the VIP delegation at his Ali’s funeral at Freedom Hall in Louisville on June 9. The North Haven native is now embarking on a second documentary on Ali. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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