TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A 15-foot-tall bronze statue of Larry Bird has been erected at Indiana State University more than three decades after the basketball great led the school to a national championship game.
The 1,900-pound statue, tethered to steel cables, was lowered into place with a crane Monday outside the Terre Haute campus’ Hulman Center while sculptor Bill Wolfe and others watched.
Wolfe asked the crane operator to swivel the statue as it was being positioned onto a concrete base because he wanted Bird’s eyes to line up with an adjacent intersection to ensure that he was in perfect shooting form.
“The body, the figure, looked like it was set right, but once we took the cover off of the face, we could see that he (Bird) was looking off to the right too much, so we had to swivel him more to the left,” he told The Tribune-Star.
Wolfe said that he hopes everyone likes his depiction of Bird and the statue’s position.
“Whatever we do here, it will be final. It is a little unnerving part of the process here,” he said. “It’s exciting and unnerving.”
Bird led Indiana State to a national championship game in 1979, although the Sycamores lost the NCAA title to Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team. Bird, who grew up in French Lick, Ind., went on to star for the Boston Celtics and become one of greatest players in NBA history.
Crane operator Brent Clark said he was thrilled to be able to put Bird’s statue into place, recalled that he had season tickets during Bird’s final year at ISU.
“This is enjoyable for me to do. In Larry’s senior year at ISU, I had a season ticket and went to every one of the ball games here at Hulman Center,” he said.