Children’s Museum unveils ‘sports legends’ for new outdoor exhibit

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Several famous basketball players, a pair of renowned golf course architects, a hockey superstar and the man regarded as the greatest race car driver of all time are among those selected to be honored in the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ new $38.5 million sports exhibit.

The museum on Tuesday unveiled the sports figures who be immortalized in life-size bronze sculptures in the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience, which is set to open in the spring.

The statues will be featured on a winding path known as the Old National Bank Sports Legends Avenue of Champions through the 7.5-acres outdoor exhibit.

The sports figures chosen all have Hoosier ties:

Larry Bird: The “Hick from French Lick” is the only person in NBA history to be named MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year.

Tamika Catchings: The four-time gold medal winner at the Olympics led the Indiana Fever to a WNBA championship and was named MVP of the WNBA and WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. Before playing with the Fever, she won a state high school championship, Junior National championship and an NCAA title.

Bobby “Slick” Leonard: The longtime announcer for the Indiana Pacers won a 1953 NCAA basketball title with Indiana University and coached the Pacers to five straight American Basketball Association appearances, where they won three titles.

Reggie Miller: The king of buzzer beaters played his entire 18-year NBA career with the Indiana Pacers, playing in 1,389 games and making 2,560 three-point shots. He helped lead the team to the NBA Eastern Conference finals six times and its only NBA Finals appearance.

Oscar Robertson: Often considered the greatest all-around player in history, Robertson was voted Player of the Century by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. In his hometown of Indianapolis, he led Crispus Attucks High School to two consecutive state basketball championships. Indiana’s 1956 Mr. Basketball won a U.S. Olympic gold and an NBA championship.

Pete and Alice Dye: The Hoosier couple, who have been designing courses since 1961, are known as the most influential golf course designers in the world. The Dyes are designing a course for the Sports Legends Experience.

A.J. Foyt: Foyt drove in 35 consecutive Indianapolis 500 races and was the first of only three drivers to win the race four times. He is also the only person to have won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.

DaMarcus Beasley: The Fort Wayne native is one of the most decorated players in American soccer history and the only American male to play in four FIFA World Cups.

Indianapolis Clowns: The Negro American League baseball team played in Indianapolis from 1946 until the Negro Leagues disbanded in the late 1960s. Key players included Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson and Marcenia Lyle “Toni” Stone. Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, and Johnson and Stone were two of the three women who played in the Negro Leagues.

Wayne Gretzky: Known as “The Great One,” Gretzky set 61 records in the National Hockey League in his 21-year career. His first professional goal came with the Indianapolis Racers in the World Hockey Association.

Wilma Rudolph: In 1960, Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games, setting or tying records in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash and the 400-meter relay. She moved to Indianapolis in 1980 to establish the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to promote amateur athletics.

Reggie Wayne: The six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver helped the Indianapolis Colts win Super Bowl XLI with a 53-yard touchdown reception. He finished his NFL career in the top 10 with 1,070 receptions and 14,345 career receiving yards.

Barbara Wynne:  More than 50,000 boys and girls have taken part in tennis programs established by Barbara Wynne, who began giving lessons in Indianapolis in the early 1960s and founded the Riverside Upswing Program in 1969.

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