Statues

MICHAEL JORDAN STATUE


The Michael Jordan Statue was unveiled as part of a Nov. 1, 1994 ceremony at which Jordan's famous No. 23 was retired

The Michael Jordan statue is one of Chicago's favorite tourist attractions.

All day long, and both prior to and after United Center events, people from all over the world come to visit and have their picture taken in front of one of Chicago's most famous and recognizable landmarks.

In late 1993, Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf directed team Vice President Steve Schanwald to conduct a search for a sculptor who could craft a statue as tribute to the greatest player in NBA history.

In January 1994, Schanwald hired the husband-wife team of Omri and Julie Rotblatt-Amrany of Highland Park, Illinois, to design and create a statue of the then retired Bulls superstar which would stand forever at the entrance to the United Center, the Bulls' new home, which was set to open in August of that same year. Schanwald sought a design which would be a realistic depiction of Jordan, illustrate the spectacular nature of his unique skill, and create the illusion of flight. Following a review of submissions by a number of sculptors, the now familiar design submitted by the Amaranys was approved by Jerry Reinsdorf.

The statue, unveiled before a national television audience by Larry King, Reinsdorf and Jordan himself in a November 1, 1994 ceremony at which the famous No. 23 was retired, sits on a 5-foot high black granite base inscribed with Jordan's basketball achievements, and the words, "The best there ever was. The best there ever will be."

The statue itself measures 12 feet tall (17 feet from top to bottom) and weighs 2,000 pounds. The statue was cast in bronze using the "lost wax" method at Art Casting of Illinois, a foundry in Oregon, Illinois.

Working in secrecy, and putting in 16-hour days, seven days a week for four months, the Amrany's finished work depicts Jordan soaring over an abstract entanglement of opponents, preparing to unleash one of his signature dunks. The airborne Jordan is attached to the base at just one point—the knee.

“At that moment I knew, surely and clearly, that I was witnessing perfection. He stood before us, suspended above the earth, free from all its laws like a work of art, and I knew, just as surely and clearly, that life is not a work of art, and that the moment could not last.”
— “A River Runs Through It”

The above quote is displayed at the foot of the Jordan statue. It was added following Jordan’s second retirement in 1998, along with his long list of basketball accomplishments, achievements, honors and records.


BOBBY HULL AND STAN MIKITA STATUES


They forged their fame just across Madison Street in a fabled old barn that people around here now refer to as the "Old Chicago Stadium."

Years later, Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull - the Chicago Blackhawks' greatest players - are now permanently linked to the team's current home, the United Center. Their life-sized bronze statues were unveiled on Saturday, October 22, 2011, before the Hawks took on the Colorado Avalanche, as the famed Michael Jordan statue located not too far away picked up a couple of neighbors wearing hockey skates.

"It's a great night," Hull told reporters. "The only thing I can say is that it is likely, without argument, the greatest evening of my life. To have a bronze [statue] depicting me here where hundreds of thousands of people will walk by and say, 'Yeah, I remember him. Yeah, he could play a little bit,'...it's good to be something. This a wonderful tribute to both Stan and I."

Mikita and Hull, along with their teammates, practically owned the Chicago sports scene back in the 1960s. They brought the Windy City a Stanley Cup in 1961 and ignited a hockey-crazed fan base in the process. Mikita and Hull were known more affectionately as "Stosh" and "The Golden Jet" and their faces became synonymous with Blackhawks hockey.

Stan and Bobby are standing guard outside the northeast corner of the building, right outside Gate 3-1/2, and they're perfectly placed for fans to snap pictures while remembering two of Chicago's most famous sports icons.

The statues are life sized and were sculpted by the Rotblatt/Amrany Fine Art Studio. Hull and Mikita are depicted in action, right down to the tape on their hockey socks and laces tied exactly the way they were years earlier.

Hull is following through on a slap shot, while Mikita's stick is at the ready – his stick blade even having the curve to it that he made famous.

Mikita, who's No.21 was the first retired by the Blackhawks, played all 22 seasons of his NHL career in Chicago and is the team's career leader in assists (926), points (1,467) and games played (1,394). He also won four Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Trophies and one Lady Byng Trophy.

Hull played 15 years in a Blackhawks uniform and is the franchise's all-time career leader in goals (604) and ranks second all-time in points (1,153) and games played (1,036). He won the Art Ross Trophy three times, the Hart Trophy twice and the Lady Byng Trophy once.

Hull, who's No. 9 was the second retired, is the first player in League history to score more than 50 goals in a season (he scored 54). He also led the NHL in goals scored seven times, the most in League history, and surpassed the 50-goal mark five times in his career.


OTHER STATUES


On April 7, 2011, the Chicago Bulls unveiled a bronze bust of Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. Pippen already had a permanent presence in the building where he, Michael Jordan and the Bulls claimed their second three-peat in the 1996, 1997 and 1998 seasons—his number 33 was retired in December of 2005. "I'm very humbled by it," said Pippen. "I can't say thank you to the organization enough to really get across how I feel. I'm truly honored that the Bulls would do this for me." Pippen's bust is permanently displayed inside the United Center at the building's Gate 7 entrance.




The Chicago Bulls longtime team broadcaster, Johnny "Red" Kerr, was honored for his career achievements and 35 years of service to the Bulls organization on February 10, 2009. Kerr, a native of Chicago, has been a part of the Bulls organization in various capacities for 35 of the franchise’s 43 seasons, most notably as a team broadcaster for more than 30 years. He also served as the team's first head coach in 1966 and earned NBA Coach of the Year honors for the 1966-67 season, when he directed the first-year Bulls to a playoff appearance. Kerr is the only head coach in NBA history to lead an expansion team to the playoffs during its inaugural season. Additionally, he was the franchise's business manager for two seasons.

 
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