Louisville Honors Hometown Hero Muhammad Ali: 'He Represents That Greatness Came From Louisville'

Flowers filled the outside of Muhammad Ali center.

ByCHARLI JAMES, EMILY SHAPIRO and DAVID CAPLAN
June 4, 2016, 5:34 PM

— -- Residents in Muhammad Ali's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, are paying tribute Saturday to the late boxing legend.

"He represents that greatness came from Louisville," Louisville resident Shani Jinaki told ABC News. "It makes me want to change my life and how I'm living to be more bold."

The small house where Ali grew up has become one place for Louisville residents to mourn the loss of their hometown hero.

Tina Davis and her children Alex and TaNaa took a tour of Ali's boyhood home on Grand Avenue to pay their respects.

"His leadership and the impact that he has is so major, not just for people in the world, but really major here in Louisville," TaNaa Davis told ABC News. "I honestly wouldn't feel like a Louisvillian if I did not come and pay some type of respect to him. Now I feel like I have a duty to do something to impact this world because of him."

Alex Davis echoed his sister's sentiment.

"It's like losing a brother. That's what it feels like," he said. "Because everyone here in Louisville is already really close knit, and losing someone with his inspiration and his influence -- it's like losing an icon for most people, but for us, it's like losing a relative."

Flowers also filled the outside of Louisville's Muhammad Ali Center, a museum and cultural center built as a tribute to the champion boxer.

Louisville resident Candice Nelson, who visited the memorial this morning, said she was surprised to see the amount of media and support flowing into the town.

"One person can impact an entire world and it almost gives me goosebumps to know that through his actions how he gave back," Nelson said. "It's pretty powerful being here right now."

"I can't wait to see how much support the town is going to give," Nelson said.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said flags on government buildings would remain at half-staff until Ali has been laid to rest.

"The values of hard work, conviction and compassion that Muhammad Ali developed while growing up in Louisville helped him become a global icon," Fischer said in a statement.

"As a boxer, he became 'The Greatest,' though his most lasting victories happened outside the ring," he said. "Muhammad leveraged his fame as a platform to promote peace, justice and humanitarian efforts around the world, while always keeping strong ties to his hometown.

He continued, "Today, Muhammad Ali’s fellow Louisvillians join the billions whose lives he touched worldwide in mourning his passing, celebrating his legacy, and committing to continue his fight to spread love and hope."

Ali, who died Friday in Arizona at 74, will be buried in Louisville Friday.

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