Louisville Airport Named After ‘Native Son’ Muhammed Ali

Jan 17, 2019

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Louisville, Kentucky, has renamed its airport after “The Greatest.”

As of Wednesday, the airport will hence forth be known as Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport to honor the iconic boxing champion, who was born in Louisville. The airport’s International Air Transport Association location code, SDF, will not change.

“Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville,” the city’s mayor, Greg Fischer, said in a statement. “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.”

The airport’s new name is the result of a year-long decision process by Louisville’s Airport Authority Board. According to the mayor, part of the decision was based on research showing that Muhammad Ali has much greater name recognition than Louisville.

“Muhammad was a global citizen, but he never forgot the city that gave him his start. It is a fitting testament to his legacy,” Ali’s widow, Lonnie Ali, said in a release.

Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali stands over Sonny Liston and taunts him to get up during their title fight. Ali knocked Liston out in one minute in the first round during their bout at the Central Maine Youth Center in Lewiston, Maine.

Ali was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the 20th Century and later in life became a United Nations Messenger of Peace. He died in 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the age of 74 due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease. His grave is in Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery.

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport serves 31 destinations and accommodated about 3.47 million passengers in 2017.

Featured image by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images.

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