Statue of Evander Holyfield unveiled outside State Farm Arena
A statue of boxing great, Evander Holyfield, was unveiled Friday by local officials, Atlanta Hawks leadership and the “Real Deal” himself, Evander. Fans to State Farm Arena will be greeted by the bronze likeness of one of the world’s greatest boxers. For boxing enthusiasts, the statue stands at 10 feet tall and weighs in at one ton.
Holyfield, an Olympic medalist and the only four-time world heavyweight boxing champion said, “I’m honored to be here today, and I thank all the people in my life that gave me this.”
The boxing champ was born in Alabama, but grew up on Atlanta’s Westside after his family moved to the area when he was a young boy. The old Atlanta Boys Club, now the Warren Boys and Girls Club, is where he got his start at boxing at a young age. Holyfield didn’t have a love of boxing but continued in the sport because it pleased his mom who liked that he won trophies.
Support from those in the community helped pay for Holyfield’s boxing classes and matches. “If you don’t quit, you’ll get there. I’m the person who just didn’t quit,” Holyfield said. In talking about life, he reflected on missteps in his life by saying, “Mistakes? I made a lot of ‘em. But I didn’t quit.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Holyfield is “Atlanta through and through.” The City of Atlanta spent $90,000 in Renew Atlanta funds designated for public art and commissioned Brian Hanlon, the official sculptor of the NBA Hall of Fame, to craft the statue. Hanlon is the same artist that made the statue of Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, which also stands at State Farm Arena. Bottoms thanked Hawks leadership for providing a home for the statue for fans to enjoy.
Said Steve Koonin, CEO of the Hawks and State Farm Arena, “Personally and professionally, I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off this championship weekend.” Koonin was reflecting on the Hawks’ being in their first-ever Conference Finals game win this week. The team returns to State Farm arena for Game 3 of the playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks today. The series is tied 1 to 1.