Muhammad Ali left an admirable legacy behind when he passed away in 2016 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. The late great boxer was not only known for his incredible sporting prowess, but also for his wonderfully kind heart that saw him becoming one of the greatest humanitarians of his time.
Now Ali’s hometown, the city of Louisville, Kentucky, has decided to honor that amazing legacy, and their proudest export. Their gesture will come in the form of renaming their airport, which is currently the Louisville International Airport. According to a report by the Huffington Post, the new name has been proposed as the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport.
The announcement was made on Wednesday, with Mayor Greg Fischer praising Ali for his career and life in an official statement.
“Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville. Muhammad became one of the most well-known people to ever walk the Earth and has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people. It is 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
The city has already set aside a budget of $100,000 for the purpose of renaming the airport and promoting it (those road signs to the airport certainly don’t come cheap!), but Huffington Post warns that the change has not been finalized yet. While the city has wholeheartedly agreed that the name is appropriate given that Ali is a local hero, the proposed change still needs to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Louisville Regional Airport Authority’s board has already voted to approve the change.
Even if the new name is approved, the three-letter identifier attached to the airport, SDF, will not be affected.
According to WDRB TV, the family of Ali also has to agree to allow the city to use his name, but it appears that his widow, Lonnie Ali, is also happy for the late boxer’s name to be honored in this way.
“I am proud that the Louisville Regional Airport Authority and the City of Louisville are supportive of changing the name of the Louisville International Airport to reflect Muhammad’s impact on the city and his love for his hometown,” she said in a statement.
She further added that she hopes that visitors to the city will be “reminded of his open and inclusive nature.”
It is a fitting testimony to the man who never forgot where he came from, and regularly liked to remind people that his “greatness came and started in Louisville.”