Schwinn donates 100 bikes in memory of Muhammad Ali
But before Louisville hosts any more events, one of Ali's lifelong friends says the city needs to do one thing near his home.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- More honors are being bestowed today in memory of Muhammad Ali -- but before Louisville hosts any more events, one of Ali's lifelong friends says the city needs to do one thing near his home.
It was all kisses and pride Monday morning outside Spalding University and the site of the old Columbia Gym, as the Schwinn Bicycle Company donated 100 bikes to children in Louisville.
"Nothing like a kiss form an Ali, I can tell you that," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Monday morning, as he was kissed by Rahaman Ali, Muhammad Ali's brother.
The donation honors a chance encounter from here long ago that ultimately jump-started Muhammad Ali's career.
"This is a powerful example of how a kind-hearted man and a curious young boy who wanted to whoop somebody came together and really did so many positive things for inspiring this world," Mayor Fischer said.
As the story is told, Officer Joe Martin met a 12-year-old Muhammad Ali at the Columbia Gym after his bike was stolen -- and instead of letting the young man stew in anger, he taught him how to box.
"Our heart continues to swell with pride in the fact that that simple action my granddad Joe Martin took on that one day with a young Cassius Clay will forever live on in history," said Jole Burghy, Officer Martin's granddaughter. "So thank you very much."
The cycles will go to kids who complete the city's "Bike Sense" program. It teaches bike safety to kids in grades 3-5. The donations coincide with a street festival Sept. 17 at Ali's childhood home.
Neighbor and lifelong friend Lawrence Montgomery says Ali's passing in many ways brought new life to the old block.
"I think it's just great -- it's wonderful that they are still remembering Ali," he said.
But there's one thing neighbors like Montgomery want to see before crowds return to the home off Grand Avenue.
"It would be great if they would pave this street out here," Montgomery said. "Because we're getting a lot of traffic....we need to have new pavement put on Grand Avenue."
It is perhaps paving another way to further Ali's legacy.
The bike donation and street festival on September 17th will come before the annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards in downtown Louisville.
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