LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The previously announced "I Am Ali" festival, celebrating the legacy of native son and global humanitarian Muhammad Ali in his hometown of Louisville, has expanded from an original ten days to six weeks, due to community interest in the event. The Muhammad Ali Center and its key partners--The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, City of Louisville, Kentucky Expo Center, Ohiobasketball.com, the Louisville Bats, and other community ambassadors are pleased to announce that the communitywide festival will be bookended by two major events: a Muhammad Ali Appreciation Night at Louisville Slugger Field and two premier girls' basketball tournament events at the Kentucky Expo Center.
On June 3, the one-year anniversary of Ali's passing; the Bats will wear Muhammad Ali themed jerseys commemorating The Greatest. Throughout the game, there will also be tributes and events throughout the stadium highlighting Ali's "Six Core Principles" -Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Respect, Giving, and Spirituality. In addition to the event, the first 2,000 fans will receive a free Bats logo hat commemorating Muhammad Ali. The jerseys will be auctioned off online following the June 3 game with all proceeds going to the Ali Center.
Tickets for Muhammad Ali Appreciation Night are on sale now by calling the Bats Ticket Office at 1-855-228-8497 or online at http://atmilb.com/2j4Phqx.
"The Louisville Bats Organization is honored to be part of this wonderful series of community events which on June 3rd will kick off the first of six weekends focusing on spreading Muhammad Ali's six core principals in our community, said Louisville Bats Senior Vice President Greg Galiette. "We the Louisville Bats franchise were very appreciative of the support that Muhammad provided to his hometown baseball team over the years… often visiting us both at old Cardinal Stadium when we were the Louisville Redbirds and then at Louisville Slugger Field our current home as the Louisville Bats. And on Saturday, June 3rd I am sure that our players will also be honored to wear the one of kind Louisville Bats / "Muhammad Ali" themed Jerseys that we have designed when we pay tribute to the Champ on Muhammad Ali Night".
The inspiration for the festival was the quickly-arranged "I Am Ali" celebration that was held at the Kentucky Center in June of 2016 during the week of Ali's death and memorial, attracting 15,000 young people.
"The 2017 festival will build upon that success - and become an annual event for Louisville as we show the world and young people how to be like Ali," Mayor Greg Fischer said.
Ali, originally known as Cassius Clay, was born in Louisville on January 17, 1942. It was here where he honed his ability as a boxer, and it was here where he returned to after winning Gold in the 1960 Rome Olympics. Ali returned to his hometown often after capturing the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World and was actively involved with the vision and direction of the Muhammad Ali Center. Having lived most of his young life in Louisville, the city is full of "landmarks" that are the backdrops of the events and experiences that molded Ali into the man who was both loved and respected throughout the world as a legendary sports figure and humanitarian, as well as a man of true principles.
The Bats will host the Cincinnati Reds in an exhibition game on Friday, March 31. Also from May 23-28, the ACC Baseball Championship will be held at Louisville Slugger Field. Tickets for all events are on sale now at www.batsbaseball.com.