Nearly 35 years after they put college basketball on the map, the rivalry between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson still runs deep. Well, the rivalry between their schools still does, at least.
Indiana State will honor Bird this November by erecting a 15-foot statue of him outside Hulman Center on the university’s Terre Haute campus. The height the statue is no minor detail, as it was specifically constructed to stand taller than the statue of Johnson on the Michigan State campus.
“I’ve known the rivalry, and we had to make [Bird’s] bigger. [Bird] was better, anyway,” sculptor Bill Wolfe, a Terre Haute native, told the Indiana Statesman. The finished product stands three feet taller than Johnson’s.
Bird is expected to be in attendance for the unveiling ceremony, which is scheduled for Nov. 9 at 11:30 a.m.
“He was arguably one of the most important figures to attend ISU, both from a publicity perspective and from an athletic perspective,” ISU athletic director Ron Prettyman told the Tribune-Star. “To honor him is something probably long overdue.”
Bird averaged 30.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in three seasons at Indiana State, leading the Sycamores to the national championship game in 1979.