Changes coming to Ali Center - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Changes coming to Ali Center

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LOUISVILLE, KY.  (WDRB-TV)--"The Greatest" of all time made a sweet appearance, representing the Cardinals during the coin toss at the Sugar Bowl this week.  

He has been called everything from "The Greatest" to "The Louisville Lip" but on Wednesday you could say he was the Cardinal's sugar daddy.

"We're very proud of the fact that Muhammad was there at the Sugar Bowl," says Donald Lassere, President & CEO of The Muhammad Ali Center.

Lassere says Ali's appearance at the Sugar Bowl was actually the first big win of the day. 

"So I think him being there and representing the city and the University of Louisville really highlighted the fact that one, Louisville is a great city, but two, that the greatest of all time is from the city."

Surprisingly, that's something Lassere learned on a recent trip abroad--that a lot of people don't know. 

"A lot of the folks there were wondering why the center was in Louisville, Kentucky and they didn't know it was because this is Muhammad's hometown."

But in his position at the helm of the Ali Center, Lassere is working to change that. 

"There's a lot of things that are going to be happening here at the center....we've recently gone through a re-branding process."

That re-branding includes focusing on things that made Ali great outside the ring...such as his drive to help others "Be Great...and "Do Great things" 

"We want to highlight his six principles, some of which I mentioned earlier, and talk about how he can be an inspiration beyond this physical space."

Meanwhile, the physical space is growing.  Crews are working on the new pedway that will soon be the ultimate connection.

"It's going to connect the city to the center and the center to the's going to make it much more easily accessible for people to come to the center."

And there's more, Lassere says if you liked seeing Ali at the Sugar Bowl. 

"We're certainly hoping that he will be here with a greater degree of frequency."

Perhaps you'll love seeing him at the center.  "We're hoping that we can get him here for an exhibit that we're going to be having for his birthday...his 71st birthday."

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