January 17, 2019
Photo by Bettmann/Getty
Louisville International Airport will now be recognized as “the greatest.” Maybe not the greatest airport of all time, but the transportation center will soon be renamed after Louisville, Kentucky native Muhammad Ali.
Yesterday, the Louisville Regional Airport Authority’s board voted to change the name to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, right in time for the legendary boxer’s birthday. “This tells the world how proud we are to associate ‘The Greatest’ with not only our great city, but our great airport,” said Jim Welch, chairman of the Airport Authority Board, said in a statement.
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First thing this morning! My daughter Sydney had a special spiritual connection with my father from the time she was a baby. When he passed at the hospital, I hadn’t told my kids yet. But, I got a call from the house telling me that my baby suddenly went down the hall and hugged his painting. I know he is hugging and kissing her back always!🙏🏾🦋🐝#muhammadali Painting by @brentestabrook
The city had a great impact on the athlete and shaped him into who he was. Now, Kentucky’s largest metro area is honoring him in a beautiful way. In a statement, Mayor Greg Fischer said that this renaming is significant: “Muhammad has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people. 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
Lonnie Ali, the hometown hero’s widow, greatly expressed her approval for what the airport is doing: “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.”
Although looked at as a controversial public figure, he was also an Olympic gold medalist, and the first fighter to capture the heavyweight boxing title three times. After a 21-year professional career, Ali died in 2016 after a longtime battle with Parkinson’s disease. That same year, actor Pooch Hall brought the greatest to ever grace the ring back to life in the film “The Bleeder.” Watch him talk about portraying the icon below:
TELL US: Do you think other airports will follow Louisville’s lead?