HAPPY 92ND BIRTHDAY WILLIE MAYS!
Say Hey to the baseball legend I directed a documentary about for HBO MAX
The last few years I’ve been blessed to work on projects about a variety of American icons, but none were more rewarding than to direct the Say Hey, Willie Mays! for HOB MAX. I first met Willie in the picture above in September 2019 in his private suite at the San Francisco Giants’ stadium. He made fun of me and my producers for our weak handshakes, which was typical of his sense of humor (and would get a call back at the end of the film.) Though his vision and hearing are failing, his spirit is strong and his sense of right and wrong central to his life. In his view there’s a right and wrong way to treat people, to play baseball and move through life. Loyalty is paramount to Willie. So are his personal boundaries. Despite is legendary status, Willie has a tight circle of friends. To be allowed in his home to shoot was a rare honor I don’t take lightly. Our first day of interviewing was rough. He tested me. But once I gave as good as I got, Willie opened up and gave us insights into his childhood, his habits and what mattered most to him in life — which were his son, his teammates and the game. He spoke glowingly about his Birmingham Black Barons teammate, Bill Greason, who is still going strong himself at 98 down in Birmingham.
To have access to elders like Willie Mays and Bill Greason, who made it through segregation and the civil rights movement into the 21st century, is to sit down with history, both personal and national, that’s given me a fresh perspective on my life. No matter how much we age, and the challenges of life, our spirit is our essence and, if you should remain true to it, and it will guide you going forward.
Happy 92nd born day to Willie Howard Mays.
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Happy Birthday! Hope he has another year of health❤️