Louisville International Airport to Be Renamed for Muhammad Ali

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2019

FILE - In this May 25, 1965, file photo, Muhammad Ali stands over Sonny Liston after knocking Liston down during their' heavyweight championship bout in Lewiston, Maine. (AP Photo/John Rooney, File)
John Rooney/Associated Press

The city of Louisville, Kentucky, is making a major change to honor "The Greatest of All Time." 

On Wednesday, the Board of Louisville Regional Airport Authority voted to rename Louisville International Airport to pay tribute to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, a Louisville native. The airport will now be called the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. The airport's "SDF" code will not change, though.

Ali died in June 2016 at the age of 74 after spending more than three decades with Parkinson's disease. Ali's widow, Lonnie Ali, approved of the decision to rename the airport "to reflect Muhammad's impact on the city and his love for his hometown," according to the Louisville Courier-Journal's Billy Korbin:

"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. Muhammad was a global citizen, but he never forgot the city that gave him his start. It is a fitting testament to his legacy."

Per Korbin, an airport authority working group began discussions about renaming the airport in November 2017. That came after a petition surfaced shortly after Ali's death in 2016 to rename the airport in the late boxer's honor.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer emphasized how much Ali meant to the city in a pair of tweets:

"Louisville should champion Muhammad Ali's legacy, and renaming Louisville International Airport in his honor is a wonderful first step. I'm speaking now to the @flylouisville Board to support this change.

"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."

Ali is gone, but his legacy—both in and out of the ring—will never be forgotten. Louisville renaming its airport is just the latest measure to ensure that.

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