TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana State University and Larry Bird once again finished second. But in a listing of the top five college basketball statues by the NCAA, this time they finished ahead of Magic Johnson and Michigan State University.
In a short video segment called, “High Five Counts Down the Best College Basketball Statues,” former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, known for habitually chewing on a towel during games, was picked as No. 1.
ISU’s Bird landed at the No. 2 spot. Magic, who earned championships in high school, college, the NBA and the Olympics, was No. 3.
“Larry Bird’s Indiana State squad may have lost to Magic’s Spartans in the 1979 NCAA title game, but at least Bird has a bigger statue,” the NCAA video states. “The bronze of Larry Bird in Terre Haute stands 5 feet taller than Magic’s likeness, and in the world of statues, size matters.”
Bird’s statue is 15 feet tall, but with its base, it looms 17 feet, 11/8 inch tall as Bird’s likeness takes a jump shot on the south side of Hulman Center.
Artist Bill Wolfe needed four months just to create the mold for Terre Haute’s most famous Bird, which was then taken to a foundry in Indianapolis, where it was cast into bronze.
“I think it is pretty neat. I think Larry Bird should have been listed No. 1,” Wolfe told the Tribune-Star, admitting his favoritism.
Wolfe said his son on Tuesday showed him a clip of the top statues – found at http://www.ncaa.com/video/basketball-men/2015-01-20/high-five-best-college-basketball-statues.
“We were at a coffee shop and my son said, ‘Hey, I want to show you something.’ I just thought it was cool,” Wolfe said.
A statue of Shaquille O’Neal, former center at LSU and NBA champion, outside of LSU’s practice center is listed at No. 4. A statue of Kentucky’s Joe B. Hall, the only person to win a college national championship as a player and a coach at the same school, was listed at No. 5.
The Bird statue was dedicated at Indiana State on Nov. 9, 2013.
Information from: Tribune-Star, http://www.tribstar.com
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