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Larry Bird to get statue at alma mater, will tower over Magic

NCAA Championship Game: Michigan State Spartans v North Carolina Tar Heels

DETROIT - APRIL 06: Larry Bird answers questions with Earvin “Magic” Johnson (not pictured) during a news conference to relive their 1979 NCAA Championship Game between Indiana State and Michigan State before the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship game at Ford Field on April 6, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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Even though the rivalry is more than 20 years old, even though Larry Bird and Ervin Johnson are friends — Bird and the “Magic” persona slightly less so — I love that Bird vs. Magic is still a dividing line.

At Indiana State, Larry Bird’s alma mater, where he took the school to its only NCAA title game, you can guess which side of the debate they fall on.

The school is putting up a statue of Bird — how did it take this long? — and the quotes from the sculptor via the Associated Press made me laugh (hat tip to SLAM).

Sculptor Bill Wolfe said he wants to make sure Bird’s statue is taller than those of Magic Johnson, whose Michigan State team beat Bird’s Indiana State team in the 1979 NCAA championship game.

‘‘I don’t have anything against Magic,’’ Wolfe said.

‘‘Larry is just better,’’ Wolfe then said in unison with Jack Fox, director of development for the Indiana State University Foundation.


Classic.

Bird deserves a lot of statues. He and Magic resuscitated a sport where the finals were tape-delayed and shown after midnight and turned it into must-see television. They brought the sport into the mainstream and laid a foundation that Michael Jordan built on.

But bigger than Magic’s… I don’t know. Of course, Magic is a baseball fan now…