Black Interests

The Chosen One: The Untold Story of How Muhammad Ali Made Harold Bell His Guy


“Harold Bell & Muhammad Ali – Uncovered and Uncrowned”  

“Harold Bell & Muhammad Ali – Uncovered and Uncrowned,” is an extraordinary one-on-one interview with “The Greatest.” When Ali stunned the world by knocking out the undefeated and undisputed Heavyweight Champion George Foreman in Zaire, Africa in 1974, he surprised the world again when he returned to the United States five days later.  His first call was to Washington, D.C., to a little unknown pioneering sports talk show host, Harold Bell.  That call made Harold Bell “The Chosen One!”  Ali didn’t call the legendary Howard Cosell.  He called Harold Bell.  Harold’s interview with Ali propelled him into his present status — The Godfather of Sports Talk.”

This “no holds barred” interview highlights Ali’s funny and serious sides.  Forty-five years later, the interview is more important now than it was in 1974.  You would expect that Ali would focus on his historic boxing performance in what is now known famously as “The Rumble in the Jungle.”  Instead, Ali talks about the most important game being played in the world today, the “Game Called Life!”

Gary Johnson, Publisher of Black Men in

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Comedians Sylvia Traymore and Chris Thomas

Here’s What The Critics Have To Say:

“Harold and I have a lot in common.  He too has persevered and stood fast            for the principles in which he believes.” – Muhammad Ali

“Harold I am so proud to see you have returned to work with young people             whose lives once resembled your very own.” – President Richard Nixon

“Harold, you help prepare me for the NBA.” – Dave Bing (NBA Hall of Fame)

“Harold Bell has always provided a platform for those without one.” – Jim Brown (NFL Hall of Fame)

“Harold, I am the Welterweight Champion of the World today because you were    there when no one else was.” – Sugar Ray Leonard, Boxing Hall of Fame 

“Harold has always been a voice for people who didn’t have a voice.  He has always called them as he saw them.  He has been an inspiration and motivation for me and a lot of other black broadcasters.” – James Brown (NFL CBS Sports) 

“Harold Bell is a unique sportscaster, former athlete, youth leader and social critic  all rolled into one.” – Bill Taaffe, (Sports Illustrated Magazine)

“Harold Bell and Inside Sports makes sense.” – Red Auerbach (NBA Hall of Fame)

“Harold Bell maybe controversial but I have yet to hear anyone call him a liar.” – Earl Lloyd (NBA Hall of Fame)

“Harold Bell is the Godfather of sports talk—the good kind.” – Dick Heller, Washington Times

“Harold Bell is the Heavyweight Champion of sports talk.” – Don King (Boxing Hall of Fame)

“Sports talk as you see it today all started in Washington, DC with Harold Bell and Inside Sports.”  Johnny Sample (NFL Legend)

“Harold you can be a tough man sometimes but your work with children is              commendable”- John Thompson (Hall of Fame Coach, Georgetown University)

“Harold Bell if you had been white you would be a millionaire. People would           have been calling Howard Cosell the black Harold Bell.” – Gene Kilroy (Ali Business Manager)

“No one is indispensable, but there are some people more necessary than others, Harold Bell is one of those people.” – Washington Star Newspaper Editorial

“Harold Bell is a “One Man Community Action Program” and this city is far better    place for him remembering where he came from.” – Washingtonian Magazine

“Harold, congratulations, your archives are valuable and should be given the broadest possible exposure.  Your discs and videos of your programs belong in the new Smithsonian Institution of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).  A wing of the new museum will be dedicated to the struggle in sports and will be titled “Leveling the Playing Field”.  Your work was a major force over the years in leveling the playing field, especially in terms of the struggle to define and project “Our Truth!” – Dr. Harry Edwards


In his new book, Harold Bell writes that he met Muhammad Ali in 1967 on the campus of Howard University.  It was a time in Ali’s life when he was being ostracized by many for refusing to be inducted into the U. S. Army because of his religious beliefs.  After his inspiring talk with hundreds of students who cheered his every word, Ali asked for someone to take him on a walking tour of DC.  Harold Bell stepped forward and volunteered to lead the tour.  The rest is sports and community history.

In 1972, Harold Bell became the first black in Washington, DC to host and produce his own radio sports talk show “The Original Inside Sports.”  In 1975, Bell was the first black person to host and produce his own TV special in prime time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4, with his special guest Muhammad Ali.

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