Made famous by the movie Rocky, starring Sylvester Stallone, Rocky’s story about being an up-and-coming boxer was inspirational. Although he didn’t win the fight against Apollo Creed, he won the love of the viewers. Rocky’s willingness to work hard and hustle to become the world champion in boxing. Despite being a fictional character, this rags-to-riches story demonstrated the grind Rocky was prepared to put in to be the best. After being immortalized in bronze in 1980 for the film Rocky III, Stallone donated the statue to the City of Philadelphia, where it now stands at the bottom of the stairs outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Known as one of the most legendary baseball players in the world, Babe Ruth set the records for all-time home runs, RBIs, and slugging percentage. Although some of those records have now been beaten, he was the player who popularized the MLB, and brought fans to the biggest baseball markets in the United States. Ruth was one of the first players to begin the long ball era still seen today. His charming character won him fans on and off the pitch, and his love for hotdogs and beer created a tradition among fans at baseball games. The Babe’s Dream statue was created by Susan Luery, and is a bronze statue located on the corners of West Camden Street and South Eutaw Street, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore.
The rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird is seen as the revitalization of the NBA, and Johnson is now regarded as one of the best players of his generation. After many championships, numerous MVPs and All-Stars votes, Johnson announced his retirement from basketball in 1991 after contracting HIV. While he did return to basketball a few times as a player and a coach, he was never the same as he was in his glory days. His momentous statue is located outside Breslin Student Events Center in Michigan.
Arnold Palmer is considered one of the best and most influential golfers of all time, having won 62 PGA Tours, and many of the majors. True to his nickname, The King, Arnold is seen as one of the front runners in golf, and along with Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, is considered The Big Three. The statue of Arnold Palmer is located at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Although Latrobe is a smaller than Philadelphia and Los Angeles, Palmer’s love for Latrobe, which is where he grew up, made it the ideal place for his statue to stand proudly.
Nicknamed The Great One, Wayne Gretzky is regularly referred to as the best hockey player in history. Famous for breaking Bobby Orr’s record for the most points scored in one season with 164, and then continuing to achieve a personal best with 215 points. Gretzky has also achieved many records in the NHL. Gretzky’s impact in the game was so noteworthy that the Edmonton Oilers erected a statue of him after the 1988-1989 season, even though he was still an active player in the league. In 2002, years after Gretzky retired, the LA Kings also put up a statue of him.
The most well-known basketball legend in the world, Michael Jordan elevated basketball to new levels with his skills and marketability. He was known as a high scorer and dunk champion, and he is considered the best basketball player in history. Michael’s ability to close out games and his various championships has solidified his top rank in sports history. Michael Jordan’s statue is located outside the United Center in Chicago.