Muhammad and LeRoy: A Friendship in Art
LeRoy Neiman was born on June 8, 1921. In honor of his 100th birthday anniversary and the fifth anniversary of Muhammad Ali's passing, the Muhammad Ali Center, with the help of the LeRoy Neiman Foundation, would like to honor these legends and their friendship through a digital exhibit of photographs, letters, and artwork.
LeRoy Neiman and Muhammad Ali met in May 1962 while Ali was preparing for a match in Harlem, New York, against Billy Daniels. As the fight was in LeRoy’s neighborhood, he found his way into the press section, and even into Ali’s dressing room.
This chance meeting in Harlem began a tradition that continued through the entirety of their friendship. Art became a conversation between the two men, a way to communicate and relate to one another, and was the foundation upon which much of their relationship was built. They remained friends until LeRoy’s passing in 2012.
Photograph by Lynn Quayle, courtesy of the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation.