Louisville, Kentucky, is renaming its airport after Muhammad Ali.
Ali, the original GOAT, was a boxing champion and master humanitarian. He was also the great-great-great grandson of the heroic Archer Alexander, a Black man who escaped slavery in the 19th century and warned Union troops about a Confederate trap. The famed boxer was born and raised in a one-story home in western Louisville. He even once said his “greatness came and started in Louisville.”
Now, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports the Kentucky city is honoring him by changing the name of its airport from Louisville International Airport to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport.
The airport is being renamed, not only because of Ali’s role as the “greatest of all time,” but also to increase tourism. Many don’t know he was from Louisville.
“Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville,” said Mayor Greg Fischer, a board member of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority (LRAA). “It is important that we, as a city, further champion The Champ's legacy.”
It was Fischer who motioned for the name to be changed.
Dale Boden, another LRAA board member, also added that the city would be improved by changing the name.
“We felt a clear takeaway was that the profile of our city could be greatly enhanced by associating Ali's name with our airport," Boden said. He also added that officials hope the name change will eventually result in greater numbers at the airport "as the city increases the promotion of tourism related to Muhammad Ali."
Officials hope the marketing changes will be finalized in time for the “I Am Ali” festival, a festival that marks the second anniversary of Ali’s 2016 death due to septic shock.
Ali is remembered as a champion, a man who fought injustice and as a person who rejected his slave name.
"Muhammad faced discrimination and the impact of inequality, and he wasn't shy about sharing his views on those challenges," Mayor Fischer said. "There's just nobody else in recorded history other than folks that we deify that's had this type of impact on so many people."
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