L.A. Galaxy honors former MLS star David Beckham with statue by Israeli artist
Sculptor Omri Amrany has previously immortalized the likes of Michael Jordan, Vince Lombardi and LeBron James.
The rising popularity of Major League Soccer is thanks in no small part to David Beckham. His arrival in the U.S. in 2007 to play for the LA Galaxy catapulted the upstart league to instant credibility. To thank him for his contribution, the team unveiled a statue of the 43-year-old soccer legend in front of Los Angeles' Dignity Health Sports Park.
“The LA Galaxy are a very special club to me, so to receive this honor is incredible and very humbling,” Beckham said in a statement. “Personally, I will always be eternally grateful for the amazing welcome the club, the fans and the city of Los Angeles gave me and my family from the minute we first arrived. My time playing and the friends we made during that period are so important to me – and Los Angeles, in so many ways, will always feel like a home to us."
Added LA Galaxy President Chris Klein: “David helped transform this league and the sport in the United States."
Beckham is the first British player to win league titles in four countries: England, Spain, the United States and France. According to the team, this is the first such statue of an MLS player. The sculpture will be unveiled in a ceremony at the stadium prior to the Galaxy’s season opener against the Chicago Fire. Beckham will also be inducted into the Galaxy’s Ring of Honor.
David Beckham led the Los Angeles Galaxy to the MLS Cup in 2011. (Photo: Photo Works / Shutterstock)
The statue of Beckham was created by Israeli artist Omri Amrany, who has made a name for himself by immortalizing American sports legends in sculptures. In recent years, from his studio just outside Chicago, he has built statues of LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and the entire Los Angeles Kings hockey franchise. Perhaps his most famous statue is that of Michael Jordan mid-flight. Dubbed "The Spirit," people flock from all over to snap a picture with it. ESPN proclaimed the sculpture as one of the 10 greatest sports photo opportunities.
In total, Amrany has created more than 165 sports statues. The irony is he's not the usual sports fan. "I am a fan of the world," he told From The Grapevine. "I watch sports for the human achievement. As an artist, as a philosopher, I'm always looking for that."
Amrany and his wife – fellow artist Julie Rotblatt-Amrany – have made countless statues since they got married in Israel several decades ago. They remain incredibly busy, some years producing as many as 45 sculptures during a 12-month period. When asked which one is his favorite, he had this response at the ready: "The one that I didn't do yet."
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