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Statue at Eastern Michigan honors "Ice Man" George Gervin and his iconic finger roll

A statue of George Gervin, the greatest basketball player in Eastern Michigan history, was unveiled outside of the arena that bears his name Thursday in Ypsilanti.

The NBA legend, known during his playing days as the “Ice Man,” was joined by his family at theGeorge Gervin GameAbove Center.

Gervin grew up in Detroit and played most of his Hall of Fame career with the San Antonio Spurs and is known for popularizing the finger roll shot. He was a nine-time All-Star and led the league in scoring four times.

Gervin says the bronze statue by renowned sculptor Ben Victor looks just like him during his playing days at EMU in the early '70s.

"To look at myself now and see how far time has went by, and I have a statue now at a beautiful university that I can see, and the world can see. Come on, man. There ain’t nothing like it. I’m thankful."

After a tribute video showed NBA greats like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan talking about their admiration of Gervin, EMU president Dr. James Smith praised the statue.

"It takes your breath away. I mean, it’s really spectacular, and, as George says, it looks just like him when we have photos from when he played. And, of course, his cute line, ‘I’m still handsome’."

Gervin’s post-basketball career has centered around education in San Antonio. Among his organizations, he has run a charter school for the last 30 years. He is also the reigning Coach of the Year in the Big3, a 3-on-3 basketball league started by rapper Ice Cube.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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