Dwayne Johnson Reflects on Muhammad Ali and ‘The People’s Champion’ Nickname

by Jacklyn Krol

Dwayne Johnson has just been honored with another title, “The People’s Champion!”

On Monday, November 25, the People’s Choice Awards announced that The Rock is receiving this year’s People’s Champion award. The legendary wrestler-actor thanked everyone for this “incredible honor.”

The People’s Champion is coming home to the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS,” Dwayne Johnson wrote in an Instagram post.

“The title of PEOPLE’S CHAMP was given to me by the Greatest of All Time and one of my heroes, the original People’s Champion himself ~ Muhammad Ali,” he added. “It’s a title I proudly own and I know, these days it represents something so much bigger and more important than me.”

Johnson said that the title is close to his heart and that he wants to live up to his name.

“It represents being kind to people, taking care of people,” he wrote. Dwayne Johnson noted that this applies to every human as “we all bleed red.”

Be sure to tune in to watch the show which airs live on December 7 at 8 PM CT.

Dwayne Johnson on His Hero

In 2016, when Ali passed away, Dwayne Johnson paid tribute to him on social media.

“Like me, Ali inspired generations around the world to be hungry to achieve,” he wrote. “Work as hard as you possibly can, to be a great as you possibly can be and make sure that not a day goes by where you don’t do your absolute best to make the world smile and feel good. Feel inspired. And feel that no matter how hard times may be, there’s always hope for tomorrow.”

Johnson wrote about the impact that he had on him as a young child, through his rookie days in the WWE, and beyond.

How Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds Helped Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson revealed to People that the very first day of filming Red Notice was the date that Johnson’s father died. His father was the wrestling icon, Rocky Johnson, who passed away from a pulmonary embolism. He briefly left filming to grieve with his family and attend his final services. When he returned, he was greeted with warmth from the cast and crew.

“The moment I walked in the door, Ryan gave me a big hug and said, ‘I got you, man,’” Johnson recalled. “The love, bond and brotherhood is there.”

Gal Gadot then helped him by keeping everything lighthearted.

“Gal is always taking care of the people around her and has the most positive presence,” he explained. “[She] would get the giggles, then I would get the giggles, and then we would all go,” says Johnson. “I’ve never laughed as hard as I did on this film.”