Legendary sports figure Muhammad Ali will be honored by his Kentucky hometown of Louisville. On Wednesday, officials announced that Louisville International Airport would be renamed after the late boxer and humanitarian, reports the Huffington Post.
The new name will be Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, although the current three-letter code ― SDF ― will stay the same, according to the Courier-Journal. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the name change reflects the city’s pride in a local son who has “left a legacy of athleticism, of humanitarianism that has literally inspired billions of people.” Although the airport is already planning to spend $100,000 to promote the new name, it’s not totally set in stone: The change first needs to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to local station WDRB-TV. The station reported that a related deal also needs to be finalized with an Ali family entity.
Ali’s widow, Lonnie Ali, seems to be onboard, judging from this statement released to the press: “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. 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.”
Ali died in 2016 after a long battle with Parkinson’s syndrome. He was 74. Not only was he the first boxer to win the world heavyweight title three times, but Time magazine once described him as the “best known person on the planet.”