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    Description

    Consigned by the famed sculptor who dressed his life-sized artwork in the donated ensemble

    1986-87 Larry Bird Game Worn Boston Celtics Uniform. It's often been said that art imitates life, and nobody does that better than our septuagenarian consignor Armand LaMontagne, whose startlingly realistic likenesses reside at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, and the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor in Fort Knox, among other public galleries. His life-sized study of the crucifixion of Jesus occupies the back wall of the sanctuary of Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Scituate, Rhode Island, not far from the picturesque farm that the artist calls home.

    But perhaps his most celebrated depiction captured another figure widely worshipped by the residents of New England, a wooden likeness of Larry Bird that would make Madame Tussaud of wax museum fame melt with envy. Some 2000 hours were spent on the life-sized laminated basswood creation, more than a few with the subject himself, the pair forming a strong bond of friendship as they talked art and basketball.

    Though LaMontagne's mastery leaves little doubt but that he could have sculpted uniform and basketball just as well as he captured Bird's fused right pinky and signature blonde "mullet" hair style, he opted instead to use the genuine article, which Bird was happy to supply. It is that ensemble we present here.

    The home white knit is the most recognizable basketball garment of the decade, with bold double-threes underscoring "Celtics" on the chest and "Bird" on the back in green tackle twill. NBA logo patch adorns upper left chest. Proper dual "Sand-Knit" labeling appears at lower left exterior tail, reporting Celtics exclusivity and size "46." Solid game wear from Boston Garden service is evident, as is a degree of soiling likely resultant of public display. The lower chest is boldly autographed beneath a personalization to the artist.

    Matching trunks appear to have been sourced from Danny Ainge, as a faded number "44" appears on the exclusivity half of the "Sand-Knit" tagging at interior waistband. We cannot honestly opine on ownership of the striped white cotton socks, but the classic Converse high-topped sneakers are clearly Bird's, each exhibiting sweaty game wear but lacking any size markings. They are identically signed at each ankle, "To Armand, Thanks for Everything, Best Wishes, Larry Bird."

    Larry Legend would found the 50-40-90 Club the season he wore the provided jersey, a term coined for shooting percentages inside the arc, outside the arc, and from the free throw line respectively. He would once again lead his Celtics to the Eastern Conference Championship, but would fall short of repeating as NBA Champs in a classic battle with Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. The jersey is, quite simply, a relic of an all-time great at his prime.

    Also offered within this lot is the basketball held by the wooden Bird, earlier used by the flesh and blood model in competition and likewise signed to the artist. Finally, we have an array of publications and photographs of the well-dressed sculpture, with a particularly wonderful shot of it being rolled out to center court at Boston Garden. LOA from Heritage Auctions.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2016
    20th-21st Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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