Larry Bird still very much cares about his image, and he's not very pleased with an Indianapolis mural that is sullying that good image with inaccurate tattoos.
Bird has caught wind of a mural on the side of a multi-family home in Indianapolis' Fountain Square, one which depicts the basketball legend as a heavily tatted version of himself. The artwork was done by California-based street artist Jules Muck, who decided to take some creative liberties with Bird's famous 1977 Sports Illustrated cover and add tattoos to the Indiana State star's arms, face and neck.
Bird, of course, had no tattoos during his playing days with Indiana State or the Boston Celtics, and he'd like to keep it that way -- even in fictitious portrayals. The 62-year-old enlisted his lawyer to help get the tattoos removed from the mural because he "doesn't want to be seen as a tattooed guy," according to his lawyer.
"Larry's position is he has elevated himself from where he began to where he is now through a lot of hard work," said his attorney, Gary Sallee, via the Indianapolis Star. "He has developed a brand that is marketable and needs to protect that brand. The mural, as originally painted, was a departure from that brand."
Muck says she never meant to offend Bird but was just trying to add a unique twist to the iconic cover, making it a bit of her own. She says she "wasn't trying to make a prestigious, fancy piece" but rather just aimed to have some fun and make people laugh at the oddity.
Thankfully, there seems to be a resolution in the cards. According to Bird's attorney, the two sides have reached an agreement that will ultimately see only one fake tattoo survive -- the word "Indiana" on Bird's forearm.
The only other solution would have been for Bird to actually get all those tattoos in order for the mural to be totally authentic.