Bring together local found object artist Bruce Larsen, known for molding scrap metal into masterpieces, and a mayor with a professional background in welding and fabricating, and the result will be a special gift to the City of Daphne from the United States Sports Academy.

The Academy receives tremendous support from Daphne and its mayor, Fred Small, a passed welder and supervisor for Chicago Bridge and Iron Company for whom he was employed for 17 years. It’s a union that has helped the Academy emerge as the largest freestanding sports university in the world. The city is behind the Academy’s efforts to develop its Sport Sculpture Park into a tourist destination, hoping to attract visitors from all over the world.

Larsen, the Academy’s 2009 Sport Artist of the Year for Sculpture, and Mayor Small will work together on the piece, which will be constructed in a new art studio located on the Academy’s campus. The piece will reflect the community and concept of the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) and the Sport Sculpture Park.

The artwork will reflect the community and concept of the Sport Sculpture Park. Its latest addition is Larsen’s basketball player, which will be named by the public through an international ballot. Voters can select from a list of 15 of the best basketball players of all time, or write in another player at The sculpture will be dedicated in the winning player’s honor.

Four Larsen works are part of the Sport Sculpture Park. In addition to the basketball player, Larsen’s works include: “Arnold the Weightlifter,” which honors actor, bodybuilder and current California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; “Borzov the Sprinter,” a tribute to Russian Valery Borzov, a great technical sprinter who won the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the 1972 Olympics; and “Nastia the Gymnast,” named in honor of American Nastia Liukin, the all-around gold medalist at Beijing in 2008. Future plans include a number of sculptures that will celebrate various sports.