LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – One year ago, Louisville and the rest of the world lost “The Champ.” But even though he's gone, Muhammad Ali is still remembered for being more than just a boxing legend.

“He was a champion, he was great and we aspire to be champions and to be great as well,” said Big Rome with Linkin’ Bridge.

Saturday morning, the Champ was honored outside the Muhammad Ali Center. His wife Lonnie Ali, Mayor Greg Fischer and an array of faith leaders were also present. The band Linkin’ Bridge even payed tribute with their music. The band said Ali used boxing as a medium to change the world and they hope to do that with singing.

“For him to stand up during times where it was difficult to stand up, it means a lot because now we know we can stand up through whatever comes our direction,” said Shon China Lacy with Linkin’ Bridge.

Ali has been described as having so many different elements to his life, but perhaps even greater than his boxing skills was his ability to bring people together from all walks of life.

“It doesn't matter if you were the doorman or in the White House. Everybody could come together for the champ. All religions. All ethnicities,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. 

Back at the pink house he grew up in on Grand Avenue, a childhood friend said the man he knew as Cassius Clay is gone, but not forgotten.

“I got a couple emotions. I know that he had to leave and go. The other emotion is I do miss him,” said Sonny Fishback.  

As the world descended on Louisville for Ali's funeral service last year, that home grown pride continues to surge on the first anniversary of his death.

“He's from here so it's something that you can relate to. If he's had this big impact on the world then we can too,” said Kim Buford, who brought her family to Ali’s grave site.

With her daughter by her side, she passed on the story of the Louisville Lip and what he stood for. 

“Just to be kind and to spread good cheer. And to everyone, we're on the same level playing field,” she said.

Saturday was the start of the “I am Ali Festival.”  It will continue the next six weeks with events celebrating Muhammad Ali's core principals.

More information on all the upcoming events can be found here.

Related stories:

Interfaith prayer service marks one year anniversary of Muhammad Ali's death

Louisville says goodbye to "The Champ" at memorial service

Some cheer and others tear during Muhammad Ali procession

RAW VIDEO | Ali procession stops at Muhammad Ali's boyhood home on Grand Avenue

RAW VIDEO | Muhammad Ali procession reaches 9th Street and Muhammad Ali Blvd.

Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.