TERRE HAUTE —
Now that word is out about Indiana State University’s planned celebration honoring Larry Bird and official unveiling of a statue honoring the Sycamore basketball legend in early November, the anticipation will do nothing but build over the next few months.
This has been a long time coming. And when the statue is finally hoisted and uncovered outside Hulman Center, Bird’s legacy as one of the greatest basketball players ever to emerge from the Hoosier state will be, as they say, set in stone. Bronze, actually. But you get the point.
Make no mistake about it. This statue of Bird is a big deal for ISU, Terre Haute and Indiana. It will instantly become an important local landmark and will probably become one of the most-photographed fixtures in the region.
As significant an event as this will be, we’re even more impressed that a scholarship fund carrying Bird’s name will get a major boost from a fundraising dinner during the two-day celebration, which is being called “Honoring a Legend.” Bird will attend the Larry Bird Scholarship Dinner at Hulman Center on Nov. 8, and the statue dedication on Nov. 9 prior to the Sycamore men’s season-opening basketball game against Ball State.
The weekend will be full of glitz and glitter, which is a fitting tribute to a man who went on from his achievements at ISU to become an icon in professional sports.
ISU Athletic Director Ron Prettyman is on target with his description of the festivities.
“It will be a great event for our community and our university and a great opportunity to honor Larry Bird,” Prettyman. “He was arguably one of the most important figures to attend ISU, both from a publicity perspective and from an athletic perspective. To honor him is something probably long overdue.”
Among the layers of highlights for this weekend will be the fact that the statue was crafted by Vigo County sculptor Bill Wolfe, an extraordinary artist who promoted the Bird statue idea for many years. In addition to his work on the Bird project, Wolfe has created a number of other local statues, including the one of Terre Haute poet Max Ehrmann at the corner of Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue downtown.
More information will be forthcoming as the weekend nears. Keep an eye on a website promoting the event, www.indstate.edu/larrybird. This event will be one for the ages.