Larsen’s inspiration, “High Aspirations” (detail) by Ernie Barnes

There is less than a month remaining to help the United States Sports Academy in its efforts to name “Mr. Basketball.”

Voting to name the new sculpture dedicated to basketball in the Academy’s environmentally-friendly Sport Sculpture Park closes on Thanksgiving Day, 26 November 2009. Through the Academy’s website at, people are invited to help name the player from a list of 15 legends of the game. Voters may also write in another nominee if their desired choice isn’t on the list, giving the vote a “Sweet 16” flavor.

The list of players to select from includes, in alphabetical order: 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.

“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.