Date: 19th December 2000

Will Smith Asked by Ali

WILL SMITH couldn't turn down the chance to play MOHAMMED ALI - especially as he was asked by the boxing legend and his family.

The INDEPENDENCE DAY star admits he was so thrilled he has been spending as much time as possible with his "absolute hero" - in and out of the ring. The actor also revealed it has been a joy seeing the former boxer in the mornings because at that time of day, it doesn't seem like he has the debilitating Parkinson's disease.

He says, "We have even got in the ring and bounced around! And to see Ali in the mornings is a real shock, because you think, 'Hey, where'd the Parkinson's go?' You know, whenever you normally see him he's shaking because he's tired, has been up all day, and has probably eaten some ice-cream he shouldn't have, but in the mornings - man, just to be with him is the ultimate privilege." (ALS/E/NFA)

Source: WENN