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Sports Business

Are any Pacers or Colts worthy of being cast in bronze?

May 19, 2011
KEYWORDS Sports Business

There’s been a lot of discussion in recent days about which sports figures are deserving of statues and which are not.

The discussion heated up this week when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar began complaining about a lack of a statue in his likeness at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. After all, Magic Johnson has one as does Chick Hearn, Oscar De La Hoya, Wayne Gretzky and Jerry West.

Of course, Michael Jordan has a statue at Chicago’s United Center. Rocky Balboa, a fictitious boxer, even has a statue in the fighting city of Philadelphia.

All of which got me wondering if any Pacers or Colts deserve a statue.

It’s probably a little easier to calculate which of the Colts deserves to be cast in bronze. If you limit it to the Colts’ playing days in Indianapolis, I think that conversation begins and ends with Peyton Manning.

The first Pacer that comes to mind is probably Reggie Miller. But there’s an argument that could also be made for the likes of Roger Brown, George McGinnis and coach Slick Leonard.

Pacers President Jim Morris said the team has chosen to honor people who have made major contributions to the franchise as a player, owner or coach with banners hanging from the rafters at Conseco Fieldhouse. So far, the Pacers have hung banners in honor of the late Mel Simon, Leonard, Miller, Brown, McGinnis and Mel Daniels.

"Since I've been here, we haven't discussed putting a statue in front of the building," Morris said.

And while Colts Senior Vice President Pete Ward said the idea of erecting a statue of a specific player isn't currently being discussed, he said it might be a future possibility.

“Nothing’s been discussed, but I don’t want to rule it out in the future,” Ward said.

I’m guessing No. 18 has something to do with Ward’s unwillingness to rule out the possibility.

Of course, the approval of the city's Capital Improvement Board, which owns the buildings, would be needed for such an addition.

So, what do you think? What local sports star deserves a statue?

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