Tribune-Star staff report
TERRE HAUTE —
Retired NBA standouts Quinn Buckner and Bill Walton have confirmed plans to participate in “Honoring a Legend” weekend, Indiana State’s upcoming tribute to Larry Bird.
Bird’s former Boston Celtics teammates will speak during a Nov. 8 scholarship recognition program in Hulman Center and Buckner will serve as master of ceremonies for the dedication of a 15-foot-tall statue of Bird on Nov. 9.
“We couldn’t be more excited and thankful to have former greats helping us celebrate this event,” Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing said. “To have such high-profile former athletes and media giants help us honor the best to ever play for the Sycamores and one of the very best of all time speaks volumes of the magnitude of this event.”
The scholarship program will include a video showcasing Bird’s career, with special emphasis on the 1978-79 “dream season” at Indiana State in which Bird led the Sycamores to the NCAA championship game against Michigan State.
The ISU basketball band and cheerleaders also will be on hand to add to the festive atmosphere.
“This will be the biggest event Indiana State athletics and the ISU Foundation have ever had. It’s certainly worthy of a major welcome and homecoming for all Sycamore fans, former student-athletes and supporters,” Lansing said.
Jim Jones, who was Bird’s high school coach at Springs Valley, and Jim Morris, president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, also will speak during the recognition program. ESPN columnist and Bird biographer Jackie MacMullan will serve as moderator. She covered the Celtics as a columnist and associate editor for the Boston Globe.
Buckner, who played college basketball at Indiana University, had a 10-year NBA career with the Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers and served as coach for the Dallas Mavericks. He is a color analyst for the Pacers broadcast team on Fox Sports Indiana.
Walton played for UCLA in the early 1970s and led John Wooden’s Bruins to two NCAA championships before beginning his NBA career with the Portland Trail Blazers and later playing for the San Diego Clippers.
Morris will discuss Bird’s tenure as Indiana Pacers coach and a team executive.
Bird’s Indiana State teammates from the 1979 squad that played in the NCAA championship game against Michigan State also will be on hand for “Honoring a Legend” weekend.
Individual tickets for a Nov. 8 VIP dinner are available for $630, with proceeds benefiting a scholarship in Bird’s honor. Tickets for the scholarship recognition program following the dinner are available for $33 or $133, depending on seating. The $133 tickets include a commemorative program and Larry Bird bobble head. A portion of the cost of each ticket will be a tax-deductible contribution to the Larry Legend Scholarship.
The statue dedication is set for 11:30 a.m., prior to a basketball doubleheader at Hulman Center. The Sycamore men’s team will host Ball State at 1:05 p.m. in the regular-season opener, while the women’s team will tip off against South Alabama at 5:05.
More information about “Honoring a Legend” weekend can be found at www.gosycamores.com.