TERRE HAUTE (AP) — Indiana State University will be welcoming back basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird in November for the dedication of a 15-foot-tall bronze statue of him outside the campus arena.
The dedication ceremony is set to be held Nov. 9 at Hulman Center before the Sycamores’ season-opening game against Ball State. Bird also will be honored at a dinner the night before that will establish the Larry Legend Scholarship fund to benefit Indiana State athletes, school officials said.
Bird, who grew up in the southern Indiana town of French Lick, led Indiana State to the 1979 NCAA championship game against Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team before going on to star for the NBA’s Boston Celtics. Bird is now president of the Indiana Pacers.
The two events will be a great chance for Indiana State to honor Bird, athletics director Ron Prettyman told the Tribune-Star.
“He was arguably one of the most important figures to attend ISU, both from a publicity perspective and from an athletic perspective,” Prettyman said. “To honor him is something probably long overdue.”
The Bird statue has been crafted by Vigo County sculptor Bill Wolfe, who has promoted the idea for years.
All members of Indiana State’s 1979 team have been invited to the dinner and statue dedication — along with Bird’s college and NBA rival Johnson.
The idea of honoring Bird with a statue was spurred by dozens of ISU students who started the Larry Legend Foundation in 2005. The students wanted to pay tribute to Bird by having a statue taller than the statue of Johnson on the Michigan State campus.