EXCLUSIVE: Baseball’s oldest living Hall of Famer has had a record-breaking career, made that fabled Catch and picked up a Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other honors, over his life. Now the legendary Willie Mays is going to be the subject of a HBO documentary.
“Some say that throughout my life I have inspired others, but the truth is that so many have done this for me,” Mays told Deadline today, his 90th birthday “My teammates, my friends, and of course the fans mean so much to me. And so I hope this documentary can give back to all of them something enjoyable and inspiring in return.”
Deadline can report that production has already started on the film on the New York/San Francisco Giants icon. Brooklyn Boheme co-director and The Hippest Trip in America author Nelson George is helming the untitled feature.
“Willie Mays is an American icon, a prime example of black excellence and baseball’s greatest player,” director George says “It’s an honor to be able to chronicle his journey from the Negro Leagues in Alabama, stardom with the Giants in Harlem and to the game’s apex in San Francisco.”
The deep dive film will of course have archival footage of that amazing display by Mays in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series, baseball’s Golden Age and a career that spanned from 1951 to 1973 on the field. However, I hear, it will also include contemporary interviews and reflection on Mays and his trailblazing influence in and outside baseball too. Perhaps even a certain POTUS may have something to say … as he did today.
Happy 90th birthday to Willie Mays! If it wasn't for folks like Willie and Jackie Robinson, I might never have made it to the White House. The spirit he played with and the way he carried himself changed the game and people’s attitudes. I’m glad he’s still going strong. pic.twitter.com/DTlRlart5U
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 6, 2021
HBO Sports has teamed up with Company Name, UNINTERRUPTED, Zipper Bros Films, and Major League Baseball to produce the documentary on likely the greatest baseball player of all time.
The Willie Mays documentary is expected to premiere on HBO next year before finding a digital home on HBO Max.
In the meantime, take a look at what excellence is all about here:
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