Chicago: United Center – Michael Jordan Statue

Chicago: United Center – Michael Jordan Statue
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Image by wallyg
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 an illusion of flight.

The statue, unveiled before a national television audience by Larry King, Mr. Reinsdorf and Jordan himself, in a November 1, 1994 ceremony at which Michael Jordan’s famous #23 was retired, sits on a 5-foot high black granite base inscribed with Mr. 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 weights 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, 7 days a week for 4 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.

Explore: July 5, 2006