Legends live forever, and so it is with late boxing icon Muhammad Ali after his hometown, Louisville, Kentucky, has renamed its airport in honour of the heavyweight champion who died in 2016.
The Louisville Regional Airport Authority board announced its decision on Wednesday, saying the airport will now be known as the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport.
“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,” said Mayor Greg Fischer in a press release from the board.
“It important that we, as a city, further champion The Champ’s legacy, and the airport renaming is a wonderful next step.”
In her reaction, widow of the boxer-turned-activist, Lonnie Ali, said she was proud of the board’s decision.
“Muhammad was a global citizen, but he never forgot the city that gave him his start,” she said in the statement.
After defeating heavyweight champion George Foreman in the historic 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” match, he gave a shout-out to his hometown, calling it “one of the greatest cities in America.”
“I’m recognized all over the world now, but my greatness came and started in Louisville,” he said.
Referred to as the ‘Louisville Lip’ for his quick with and poetry, Ali died at the age of 74, after a decades-long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
He was buried in a private ceremony in Louisville, after his coffin passed by thousands of well-wishers in the city’s streets as the world watched on.