By: Beth Pickerill, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
November 5, 2013
A larger than life statue of Larry Bird has arrived on the Indiana State University campus in preparation for "Honoring a Legend" weekend.
More than 100 Indiana State students, faculty and staff got a sneak preview of the bronze sculpture at the Indiana Pacers' Oct. 29 NBA home opener and their excitement has grown with the statue's placement outside Hulman Center.
"The Pacers game was a lot of fun. It was the first opportunity to get the see the statue, and also get to really see excitement that was around the statue," said Tommy Lynch, a senior communication major from Bird's hometown of French Lick who serves as director of Sycamore Pride and Tradition for the Student Government Association (SGA). "A lot of people are really excited about this,"
SGA and The Forest, an SGA-sponsored student spirit group, are planning a variety of events leading up to a weekend scholarship dinner and Bird recognition program on Friday before the dedication of the statue on Saturday.
Those events include "Letters to Larry," in which students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to write notes for Bird from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily in Hulman Memorial Student Union. The notes will be presented to Bird in conjunction with the weekend's activities. Students will also be treated to a showing of the documentary "Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals" at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday in Pickerill Hall.
"Honoring a Legend" begins Friday with a scholarship dinner at Hulman Center that will honor Bird and help fund future athletes' education through scholarships. A recognition program will follow at 8:30 p.m. Tickets the program are available for $33 or $133, depending on location, at the Hulman Center ticket office, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. The Bird statue will be dedicated on Saturday, prior to the Sycamores' regular season opener game against Ball State. Tickets for the game are also available at the Hulman Center ticket office and www.ticketmaster.com.
"There is a lot you can learn from him, he did it the right way. He built this place and helped in every way and to where our facilities are now," said senior basketball player Jake Odum. "People don't realize how much money gets put into each sport and it will be great honor for whoever accepts (the Larry Legend Scholarship) to try and live up to Larry Bird's name."
"To get to be a student when Indiana State has the opportunity to do this is really exciting," said Lynch. "The high school in French Lick is on Larry Bird Ave. At least five days a week you mention Larry Bird because you have to drive on his road to get to school. Larry had a big influence on French Lick, even though he doesn't live there anymore. He did a lot for the school and a lot for the town. French Lick really supported him and really appreciated what he did."
Bird set the standard "on how it needs to be around here and we have to live up to that," said Odum.
"He is a legend in everyone's eyes at this and the NBA level and it's about time he got a statue outside the Hulman Center," Odum added. "It is an honor to be able to play in the same arena and look up in the rafters and see Larry Bird's number retired up there."
The Forest purchased 350 "I'm a Bird watcher" T-shirts and will be passing them out to the first 350 students that come out to the game on Saturday.
"Just getting to be on campus when Indiana State doing this honor for him and the statue for him, on a personal level, it is really exciting," said Lynch.
Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/Media-events-and-press-confere/Larry-Bird-student-signatures/i-nmZbcdM/0/L/November%2005%2C%202013Larry%20Bird4049-L.jpg (ISU/Nicole Marder) Indiana State University students working at a table to collect cards to be given to Indiana State grad and prominent basketball legend Larry Bird.
Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2013/Larry-Bird-Statue-Installation/i-SHGqv6Q/1/L/November%2004%2C%202013%20Larry%20Bird%209696-L.jpg (ISU/Tony Campbell) - Workers installing the statue of Indiana State University graduate and basketball legend Larry Bird outside of Hulman Center in Terre Haute.
Writer: Beth Pickerill, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
A variety of events are scheduled for the "Honoring a Legend" weekend, which will culminate with a scholarship dinner to benefit students and the dedication of the Larry Bird statue outside of Hulman Center.