More than three decades removed from his last professional appearance in a boxing ring, Muhammad Ali has opened up a new chapter in his life with an endorsement deal with Under Armour.
Earlier today, the sportswear brand announced a deal to produce an exclusive line of Under Armour gear branded with Ali’s name. The deal came about through a third party negotiation with Authentic Brands Group (ABG), according to ESPN, a corporation that bought out Ali’s licensing rights and estate a couple years ago.
The collaboration will kick off with an exclusive graphic tee set to hit shelves (and the web) later today and by November the legendary boxer’s likeness will begin appearing on Under Armour’s apparel and footwear.
Glenn Silbert, a vice president at the brand, addressed the news in a statement. “He’s an iconic hero from the past and a true innovator,” Silbert said. “We wondered what Ali would have been like if he had a brand like ours when he was getting started and how great it could have been. That has been the mentality of our design team throughout this process.”
The president of ABG also commended the new partnership. “Under Armour is irreverent, disruptive, they pivot quickly and they’re explosive,” Nick Woodhouse said. “Those words also speak to Ali and how he changed the game.”
Meanwhile, Ali’s wife Lonnie Ali spoke positively about the new deal herself. “We are truly flattered to have Under Armour pay homage to Muhammad in such a significant way,” she said in a statement. “We see in the Under Armour brand a similar spirit and drive that pushed Muhammad to be such a groundbreaking force.”
The Ali announcement is the latest in Under Armour’s “Roots of Fight” apparel line, a campaign reserved for boxing endorsements that has already released products related to Bruce Lee and Mike Tyson.
Ali, who is 73, is unlikely to promote the deal himself publicly given his years-long battle with Parkinson’s disease but his name will likely become relevant to a whole new generation of fans.
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