04 Jun What are the Best NBA Player Statues? | Top 10 NBA Statues
What are the Best NBA Player Statues? | Top 10 NBA Statues
There’s no better way to honor a public figure than with a statue. Copper, clay, bronze, and wood can be sculpted so that individuals can be admired for years to come. However, these figures can take on a life of their own when they depict the exciting careers of athletes.
There are NBA statues all over the nation. And every one of them has been meticulously designed to convey what each player has contributed to the game of basketball. Here are 10 of the best statues of the most influential NBA players.
When Amrany and Rotblatt were commissioned to create the statue of Shaquille O’Neal, they took the opportunity to create a structure that seemingly defied gravity. The 10 feet tall, 1,500-pound figure hangs in the air mid-dunk. And though it’s made of wood, bronze, steel, and clay, when passersby stand beneath Shaq’s large shoe they wonder where he will land when he finally lets go of the rim. O’Neal’s statue is located in front of the Staples Center.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar
When creating the statue of Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the sculptors hoped to capture the player in motion—specifically his infamous hook shot. So they used the granite base to emphasize the energy that it took to achieve the shot. In fact, they doubled his tennis shoe to represent repetitive energy in motion. Kareem was very hands-on in the process, ensuring that the figure was outfitted with the proper accessories and that his unique mannerisms were captured from every angle.
Wilt Chamberlain was a 7-foot-1 Philadelphia 76er NBA player, so it comes as no surprise that his statue is 18 ft tall and weighs close to three tons. The life-size statue of Wilt depicts him flying through the air and dunking a basketball into a hoop, all the while you’re able to witness an older and more mature version of Wilt beneath him holding another basketball. Although Wilt was known for his physical stature, the plaque at the base of the Wilt Chamberlain statue reads, “The worth of a man is measured by the size of his heart.” The statue is located outside of the Wells Fargo Center.
The Karl Malone statue doesn’t involve hoops, sparks of energy, or depictions of the player’s future or former self. It’s simple and understated. The sculptor’s, Brian Challis, goal was to capture the passion and power that Malone exhibited on the court. The bronze, larger-than-life figure shows Malone in the middle of one of his most classic moves—mouth slightly open, right knee bent, and the ball in his right hand as he approaches the hoop.
Karl Malone’s statue stands only 10 feet away from that of John Stockton’s and was created by the exact same sculptor. The John Stockton statue is posed passing the ball. However, it’s the level of accuracy that brings this figure to life. Challis sculpted with laser focus and was able to capture every detail—right down to the way Stockton would flex his left hand into a Vulcan sign whenever he would release the pass.
When it comes to legendary NBA stars, there are very few players mentioned more than Michael Jordan. Named, “The Spirit”, his statue stands at over 16 feet. It depicts Jordan in the middle of his signature spread eagle dunk. Perhaps the most thoughtful features of this structure are the figures beneath Jordan. One reaches up to try to steal the ball away from him and the other is a small face. In this way, the Amrany artists were able to convey the fact that this player was above the rest.
The 12 foot Magic Johnson statue speaks volumes about the position he held within his team as well as the strategy he would use to make his shots. Johnson is depicted with the ball in his right hand while pointing with his left as if to give instructions to his teammates. He does all of this while staring straight ahead—a technique he often used to misdirect his opponent’s attention while he passed the ball in one direction or another. The statue has a bronze finish but the creators added yellow coloring to its Jersey so that you’ll always be reminded that it’s one of the Laker statues. This statue is located in front of the Staple’s Center.
Johnson was a known rival of Larry Bird, so when Armand LaMontagne was commissioned to create Bird’s statue, he knew that he needed to create a figure that was taller than 12 feet. The end result was a 17-foot tall figure carved out of 1,800 pounds of laminated basswood. And LaMontagne was able to capture everything from the player’s muscular legs to his smashed knuckle. The artist also captured the concentrated look on the player’s face just before he completed his jump shot.
Elgin Baylor is another NBA player that can be added to the Staples Center statues list. During his stint with the Lakers, Baylor became well-known for his jumper. In fact, he was the first player to completely master it while others were still relying on their flat-footed shots. This is why he is depicted in mid-air as he lifts off with his right foot and drags the ball with his left hand. This statue is another repetitive motion figure created by Omri Amrany and Gary Tillery. They doubled his arm and basketball to achieve the desired effect.
Jerry West can be added to the list of statues in front of Staples Center. As you’ve probably noticed by now, when it comes to NBA players statue depictions can be incredibly large in terms of height. However, in the case of Jerry West, the entire structure is a modest 7-feet. This doesn’t mean that his pose is any less exciting. West is depicted charging forward while holding the ball in his left hand. Though the statue stands at a mere 7-feet in height, it’s larger than life and positioned at the entrance of the center.
If you want to depict legends sculptures are a great way to do it. Each of these bronze and wood figures is much more than a simple tribute. Every NBA statue that we’ve discussed thus far represents a moment in time. Each basketball statue honors the lives and legacies of people who inspire greatness. In this way, those who follow in their footsteps will always be reminded of what they should aspire to.