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Larry Bird to get statue at alma mater, will tower over Magic

Aug 29, 2012, 8:59 PM EDT

NCAA Championship Game: Michigan State Spartans v North Carolina Tar Heels Getty Images

Even though the rivalry is more than 20 years old, even though Larry Bird and Ervin Johnson are friends — Bird and the “Magic” persona slightly less so — I love that Bird vs. Magic is still a dividing line.

At Indiana State, Larry Bird’s alma mater, where he took the school to its only NCAA title game, you can guess which side of the debate they fall on.

The school is putting up a statue of Bird — how did it take this long? — and the quotes from the sculptor via the Associated Press made me laugh (hat tip to SLAM).

Sculptor Bill Wolfe said he wants to make sure Bird’s statue is taller than those of Magic Johnson, whose Michigan State team beat Bird’s Indiana State team in the 1979 NCAA championship game.

‘‘I don’t have anything against Magic,’’ Wolfe said.

‘‘Larry is just better,’’ Wolfe then said in unison with Jack Fox, director of development for the Indiana State University Foundation.


Bird deserves a lot of statues. He and Magic resuscitated a sport where the finals were tape-delayed and shown after midnight and turned it into must-see television. They brought the sport into the mainstream and laid a foundation that Michael Jordan built on.

But bigger than Magic’s… I don’t know. Of course, Magic is a baseball fan now…

  1. lakerluver - Aug 29, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Wow, still debating who was better between Magic and Bird?! Why do we have to debate who was better instead of just enjoying each players own unique greatness? MJ v. Kobe, Kobe v. LeBron, LeBron v. MJ, Wilt v. Russell, Kareem v. Shaq?? When will it ever end??!!! Btw, Bird is the 2nd greatest sf ever (LeBron passed him this season), HOWEVER, Magic was better!! Tee Hee Hee!!!

  2. nepatriots128154 - Aug 30, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    As a Celtics fan I’ll take Bird, but as a Red Sox fan, thank god for Magic!

  3. eventhorizon04 - Aug 30, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    Much respect for Larry Bird’s career as a player (college and pro), coach, and GM.

    The statue is definitely deserved.

  4. eventhorizon04 - Aug 30, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    And of course, a ton of respect for Magic.

    Anybody else think it’s funny how the University of Michigan and the LA Lakers hustled to build statues for Magic, but Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have to wait 20+ years to each get one?

    All 3 guys make the list of top 10 basketball players of all time – I just think it’s funny how building a statue of Magic seems to “come naturally,” while for other people, it takes awhile for it to happen.

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 30, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      Perhaps that’s why they call him “Magic” with a capital “M”.

  5. nameisstan - Aug 30, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    That’s Michigan State, not University of Michigan.

  6. manchestermiracle - Aug 30, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    This sculpture will be the only way Bird “towers” over Magic…..

    • 1historian - Aug 30, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      show a little class

      just a little

      is that too much to ask?

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 30, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      You’re lying.

  7. lakerluver - Aug 30, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Well said. They’re both two of the top 10 players ever. I hated Bird but I have always acknowledged his greatness. As a young lad I dreamed of dribbling and passing the ball like Magic and having a jump shot like Bird. I tried over & over to duplicate that awkward jumper!! That being said, I’m taking Magic. He was one of the most unique players–and toughest matchups–the NBA has ever seen………As for why Magic got a statue before Kareem, it’s simple Magic played his whole career in L.A. and the LAKERS didn’t start winning rings until he got there. The LAKERS were already a talented team, Magic was the missing piece to the championship puzzle. Kareem deserved a statue a long time ago but IMO not before Magic.

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