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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Larry Bird Complains After Artist’s Mural Makes Him Seem Too Interesting

This mural of Larry Bird in Indianapolis will soon be nearly tattoo-free.
This mural of Larry Bird in Indianapolis will soon be nearly tattoo-free.
Photo: Mike Pierce

Artist Jules Muck recently painted a mural of Larry Bird in the Fountain Square section of Indianapolis, which features the image of Bird in his Indiana State jersey doing the “Shh!” gesture, similar to the Nov. 28, 1977 cover of Sports Illustrated. This time, though, Bird is doing the shushing instead of the Indiana State cheerleaders. Oh, and he’s covered in tattoos.


Here’s the ink on Tatted Bird: A basketball, the words “Indiana” and “Hoosier,” a Celtics-style shamrock, a shoulder spiderweb, the number 76(?), a cardinal which is Indiana’s state bird, and of course, two rabbits humping.

One person didn’t like it, though: Larry Bird. His lawyer, Gary Sallee, gave the Indianapolis Star some great quotes:

“Larry’s position is he has elevated himself from where he began to where he is now through a lot of hard work. He has developed a brand that is marketable and he needs to protect that brand,” Sallee told IndyStar. “The mural, as originally painted, was a departure from that brand.” [...]

“All of his friends and 98% of his players are tattooed. He doesn’t have any problem with tattoos,” Sallee said. “He just doesn’t want to be seen as a tattooed guy.”


It seems unlikely that someone will see this mural and believe that Larry Bird has all these tattoos, but that’s fine.

All is not lost, as Muck and Bird have worked out a compromise. Muck will edit the mural to remove all the tattoos except the “Indiana” one. (Muck, who is based in Los Angeles, told the Star she sometimes adds things to her murals to avoid, say, just copying an old Sports Illustrated photo.)

The humping rabbits have an explanation, too: Last year, Muck painted a mural of humping rabbits on the side of an Indianapolis restaurant, before it was quickly removed. So, this marks the second time Indianapolis is taking down an image of rabbit-humping. Let those rabbits hump!

H/t to Mike

Staff editor, Deadspin

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