The United States Sports Academy is hosting a worldwide ballot to name the latest addition to its Sport Sculpture Park. Bruce Larsen’s newest sculpture, “The Basketball Player,” will be dedicated in a ceremony on the Academy campus in Daphne, Ala., at 5 p.m. Tuesday, 22 September 2009.

The painting “High Aspirations,” from late American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) Sport Artist of the Year Ernie Barnes, (1938-2009) is the inspiration behind Larsen’s “Basketball Player.” Barnes was ASAMA’s first Sport Artist of the Year in 1984. His painting depicts a tall, lean player attempting to dunk into a peach basket.

The Academy is inviting people to vote on the naming of the player on its website beginning 22 September through Thanksgiving Day, 26 November 2009. Voters will select one player from a list of 15 legends on the ballot or write in a different selection, giving the vote a “Sweet 16” flavor.

The list of players includes: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Michael Jordan, George Mikan, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki, Hakeem Olajuwon, Oscar Robertson, David Robinson, Bill Russell, and Jerry West.

“The Basketball Player” is only the first of many additional projects planned for the Sport Sculpture Park. Tentative plans for the park include the commissioning of 13 or more sculptures depicting other all-time greats from a variety of sports. Worldwide balloting will also be held to name future sculptures.

The Academy is also providing sports fans and arts supporters the opportunity to participate in the project by purchasing bricks that will line the Academy’s “Walk of Fame,” which will connect the sculptures, or help form the bases for sculptures. Bricks can be purchased for $30 each or $50 for two. They offer a unique way to honor a loved one, family member, teammate, coach or friend. If you would like to add your name to our Walk of Fame, please complete the electronic form or contact: ASAMA, One Academy Drive, Daphne, Alabama 36526 (telephone number: 251-626-3303).