LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – The Louisville International Airport located in Kentucky, USA, has announced it will change its name to be Muhammad Ali International Airport, to honor the late sports legend, CNN reported.
“We are so excited to announce that @FlyLouisville will be changing its name to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport,” the Muhammad Ali Center announced on Twitter.
“Keeping Muhammad’s legacy alive in his hometown that he loved so much is vital to the Ali Center’s mission. What a great birthday present for The Champ!”
We are so excited to announce that @FlyLouisville will be changing it’s name to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Keeping Muhammad’s legacy alive in his hometown that he loved so much is vital to the Ali Center’s mission.
What a great birthday present for The Champ! pic.twitter.com/7bICfilkzw
— Muhammad Ali Center (@AliCenter) January 16, 2019
Officials announced Wednesday that SDF would be renamed after the late boxer, sportsman, humanitarian and activist Muhammad Ali who was chosen as Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC.
“This tells the world how proud we are to associate ‘The Greatest’ with not only our great city but our great airport,” Jim Welch, chairman of the Airport Authority Board, said in a statement.
Ali was born in Louisville and grew up there as a child and it is a fitting tribute to one of the city’s biggest personalities.
Mayor Greg Fischer praised Ali’s contributions to both his sport and his hometown.
“Muhammad … has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people,” Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement.
“It important that we, as a city, further champion The Champ’s legacy, and the airport renaming is a wonderful next step.”
Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown. Today’s decision to change @flylouisville’s name to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport is a major piece of a broader effort to celebrate those deep ties. pic.twitter.com/mxXyX4pILl
— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) January 16, 2019
Ali’s widow, Lonnie Ali, expressed her support for the name change.
“I am happy that visitors from far and wide who travel to Louisville will have another touch-point to Muhammad and be reminded of his open and inclusive nature, which is reflective of our city,” she said.
Named Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr after his father, the sporting champion, who died aged 74, reverted to Islam in 1964 and changed his name to Mohammad Ali, dubbing his former alias, Cassius Clay, “my slave name”.
Ali became an icon for not only his achievements in the ring but his political beliefs, particularly his stand against fighting for the United States in the Vietnam war.
The decision cost him his boxing license for almost four years, but seal his legacy as a man of the people, with the musical set to spread his story yet further.