When we were kings.

BACKGROUND Storytelling and character development in film is full of psychological concepts and motifs, and in the case of sports movies, there’s often plenty crossover with performance psychology concepts. For this assignment, I first want you to select a film from the list provided – you may select your own, just confirm your choice with me before beginning. As well, I would like you to do some basic research on the psych concepts featured in the film and evaluate the meaning, representation, and accuracy of their depiction. TASK 1. Find your film or TV series – these can range from drama to documentary. 2. If you have seen the film or series, consider the units and concepts we covered during the semester to begin making your connections between the class and content. 3. As you watch, be sure to take notes over important scenes and characters, especially those that connect with your chosen sport psych terms and concepts. You will need to make specific references to the film in your paper, and you will be asked to submit a one-page outline as well as a works cited page. Paragraphs should range between 6-8 sentences. 4. Your paper should be organized into the following segments: a. Paragraphs 1 & 2: MOVIE – Introduction to the film and characters, especially those most relevant to your selected psych terms. Summarize and discuss the film’s plot, major theme(s), and its most significant characters. You may also address why you chose this film, without using personal pronouns of course (“I” “me” “my). As well, you should use this section to clue the reader into your psych terms for a smooth transition to the next section. – Please cite the movie in text and be sure to include it in your works cited – direct quotes, paraphrasing, etc. Even if you don’t use a direct quote, you should cite the film towards the end of paragraph #2. Paragraph #1 should be formatted as you would an introductory paragraph in a traditional essay or paper. b. Paragraphs 3 & 4: RESEARCH BRIEF – Tell me about the most important psychological aspects of the film by providing operational definitions of each topic and then tell me about its portrayal in the movie. Any research or specific scene mentions should be cited from legitimate sources (may use AP course notes here). You can touch on some of these in the character analysis section as they apply, but in this part of the paper I want you to tell me what the research says about your topic. Did the movie represent the psychology topics accurately? Which ones? Why or why not? (1 Paragraph per Term or Concept – at least 2 terms from movie list) c. Paragraph 5: CONCLUSION – Broad overview of important points from movie, sum up your research and add insight from your personal view where relevant in regards to term depiction, where the film was strong/weak, etc. (avoid personal pronouns here)




“When We Were Kings “(1996) by Leon Gast

Film Analysis

“When we were kings” is an award-winning documentary of a past event that capture electricity generated by Mohammad Ali during his prime. Specifically, the film famously known as Rumble in the Jungle features two fighters, Mohammad Ali and George Foreman. The fight took place in the present Democratic Republic of Congo, known initially as Zaire.

Ali is believed to have been one of the most famous people that young people should recognize, as claimed by Spike Lee and his colleagues who provided modern commentary of the 1974 film. Initially, the film started as a concert documentary. There is a fight that was delayed because Foreman’s eye was cut. However, the concert continued as planned, with the press willing to wait. Ali is predicted as the victor. However, the film gives the audience the impression that Ali adopted a Rope-a-Dope strategy that took him nowhere in the first round. The film shows people’s uncertainty from Zaire, including his most incredible supporters Cosell who ideally, never thought Ali could win that night.

Generally, the films display the private and persona resolve of the central character. Mohammed Ali refused to join others in the Vietnam War, a decision supported by most African American athletes (in June 1967). Later on June 20th, 1967, Ali was convicted for refusing the Vietnam Draft induction in the U.S armed forces. After that, some viewed him as a coward and draft dodger even though his decision proved his highest level of courage. The people of Zaire were impressed by his decision. He was joyful and remained so even after paying the price; conviction and watching Foreman crowed favorite even though he was less popular than him. He was ever willing to be a poet, an activist, and a fighter at the same time. He enjoyed sharing his charisma and famous poems that he composed with the public.

Notably, “When We Were Kings” demonstrates essential themes. The first and most notable are self-esteem, identity, and culture. As an African American, Mohammad Ali portrayed a high level of self-esteem. He declined the Vietnam draft and refused to accept induction into U.S armed forces. Even though he knew his decision could land him into trouble, he never changed his mind. Besides, as the greatest African American boxer, Ali highly condemned the American government.  He stood with others to fight white supremacy, which was a significant focus of the film. Likewise, Foreman was equally brave and fought those whom Ali never defeated. Yet, Ali showed no fear towards him thus, depicting how confident he was.

Culture and identity are portrayed throughout the film. These include differences between the life of African and African Americans and that of the poor and the rich. According to Ali, poverty provides some dignity and freedom absent in America. In other words, “When We Were Kings” portrayed important themes around sports and George Foreman. However, it is unarguable that it revolved around Mohammad Ali and how great and influential human he was as a leader, player, and celebrity.

Bennis Model of Leadership and Motivation in “When we were kings.”

People participate in sports for various reasons.  “For athletes to keep up exercising and participating in numerous activities, they must be motivated thus athlete motivation is necessary” (Moradi et al. 1).  Likewise, Sigmund argues that an individual’s urge determines motivation for survival (Mackay 1). Motivation is both intrinsic and extrinsic. The intrinsic concept of motivation is when one’s participation is based on enjoyment and urge to improve in the competition. Purpose, mastery (improvement), and autonomy (independence) are core factors. Both Ali and Foreman participated in the fight as boxers because they had a purpose and urge to improve in their crafts.  They both made sacrifices to participate significantly in the contest.

Similarly, extrinsic motivation is one’s participation based on success, money, and approval of others.  Without a doubt, Ali and Foreman were boxers who yearned for community recognition and appraisal. Arguably, this is everyone’s motivation in sports.  Also, Ali was motivated to earn the respect of his community (Africans). As a result, he declined the Vietnam draft and often criticized the American government and white supremacy in Africa (European colonization).

In other words, Ali was brave enough to stand with his continent in fighting European colonization and with fellow African Americans in addressing the oppression castigated by the U.S government. All these portrayed his capability as a brave and confident leader who could stand by his people and condemn his fellow leaders who do not conform to the state laws and regulations. Also, confidentiality is recognized as a primary characteristic of a good athlete and leader (Leonard 2).

While motivation is a significant factor determining success, there are achievement biases in motivation. These are biased around human success. In this case, people failed to note Ali’s dedication and hard work after he refused to join Vietnam War. Foreman is later crowned even though Ali was highly popular compared to him. He is also convicted on the same.














Works Cited

Mackay, Nigel. Motivation and explanation: An essay on Freud’s philosophy of science. International Universities Press, Inc, 1989.

Moradi, Jalil, Alireza Bahrami, and Dana Amir. “Motivation for participation in sports based on athletes in team and individual sports.” Physical Culture and Sport 85.1 (2020): 14-21.

Leonard, Denis. “Characteristics of Quality Leadership.” (2010) MIT




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