Michael Jordan‘s statue at the United Center displays the NBA legend soaring for a dunk. The Chicago Bulls superstar is fully extended, legs in a “V”, arms reaching — emulating the famous Air Jordan logo.
It embeds Jordan’s accomplishments in the city he brought six championships to and is the perfect photo op for fans to snag a picture with the basketball icon.
It’s a staple of the Chicago sports scene.
Michael Jordan Statue
The statue was proposed after Jordan retired following the 1992-93 season and the Bulls’ third-straight NBA Championship. Jordan pursued baseball while Bulls chairman and owner Jerry Reinsdorf wanted to honor the franchise’s greatest player. He enlisted team vice president Steve Schanwald to seek out artists for the project.
In 1994, the husband-wife team of Omri Amrany and Julie Rotblatt-Amrany of Highland Park, Illinois was hired to sculpt the statue for the United Center, the Bulls’ new home they share with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. Previously, both the Bulls and Hawks played at Chicago Stadium.
The statue, nicknamed “The Spirit”, rests on 5-foot high black granite base and is 12 feet tall in total. It lists all of Jordan’s career accomplishments in addition to the quote:
“The best there ever was. The best there ever will be.”
The bronze statue was officially unveiled on November 1, 1994, by Reinsdorf, Jordan, and Larry King, coinciding with Jordan’s jersey retirement. The statue is located at 1901 W. Madison Street.
Talk about awkward when Jordan came out of retirement in 1995. Winning another three championships defuses that I suppose. After Jordan retired with the Bulls again in 1998 following a second three-peat, a quote from the 1992 movie A River Runs Through It was added. It reads:
“At that moment I knew, surely and clearly, that I was witnessing perfection. He stood before us, suspended above the earth, free from all its laws like a work of art, and I knew, just as surely and clearly, that life is not a work of art, and that the moment could not last.”
In 2017, the United Center underwent renovation for a new atrium on the arena’s east side. Fellow statues of Blackhawks legends Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita’s remained outside while Jordan’s was moved inside. There’s no need to question the statue’s hockey fandom, though. It sports a Chicago sweater for Blackhawks games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The statue places fans in the presence of one of the best players in NBA history in the midst of his prime. It’s a taste of experiencing the real thing and sparks old memories of the tongue-out, high-flying, ultra-competitive legend.
It’s a must-see for sports admirers.