A LOCAL FAN WILL SELL A COLLAGE FEATURING HAND-SIGNED ACTION PHOTOS OF NBA STARS TO RAISE MONEY TO HELP LESSER-KNOWN RETIRED PLAYERS
BY RODOLFO ROMAN
SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
While the salaries of NBA stars are famously astronomical, the paychecks of the less famous players haven’t always been so impressive — especially in decades past.
That’s why a Miami entrepreneur is trying to raise more than $1 million to help elderly former players experiencing financial distress.
Cash McMahon, owner of Icon Art Images in Wynwood, hopes to raise the money by selling numbered copies of a collage of 60 signed photos of top NBA players.
The collage, Legends of Basketball — We Made This Game, was produced by Coconut Grove artist Erika King. The NBA-licensed piece features 60 of the greatest living players of the NBA including Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Julius Erving.
Current stars — like Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant — are also part of the artwork.
The paintings will help raise over a million dollars for the Retired Players Association of the NBA. McMahon hopes to sell each numbered art piece for $25,000, with half of his net going to the association.
“These are the guys that made it happen and paved the way,” McMahon said.
The piece is on display at Icon Art Images, 147 NW 36th St., in Wynwood until the NBA Finals, which start in a few weeks.
Analyzing the collage, NBA fan Sergio Calderon said the work tells a story.
“You look at it and you become inspired by it,” he said. “It is finesse in a way. It shows you how the game and players have evolved.”
The project started during the Miami Heat’s championship year in 2006.
Former basketball player and broadcaster Rick Barry took notice of one of King’s NBA collages, which was on display at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Barry invited McMahon to a meeting of the Retired Players Association of the NBA, where he proposed creating the official legends artwork to the board of directors.
The first piece was unveiled at the 2009 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
“There are several guys in their 60s and 70s and beyond that were pro basketball players for a living but need the medical help and the assistance to live,” said McMahon, who along with Sam Battistone helped produce the project.
In the early days of the sport, sponsorships, television contracts and pensions weren’t offered, McMahon said.
Not a stranger to sports artwork, King, who lives in Coconut Grove, worked on collages of Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning. She also creates corporate collages.
King said Legends of Basketball — We Made This Game is a dream come true.
“I like the action of the photographs,” said King, who autographs each collage. “They are running and throwing.”
At a recent gallery night, King and McMahon celebrated the production of the 100th collage. A total of 600 numbered 40-by-60-inch collages on canvass will be produced at Icon Images.
To create the collage, it takes a team effort. McMahon carefully chose the pictures and also decided where the pictures will be glued on the canvass. King paints the background with vibrant colors of the nba team uniforms. She later embellishes the color with a paintbrush to connect the photos and the canvass. Graphic desinger Gia Garcia also assists with the painting
Art collector Bruno Carnesella owns 15 personal King paintings. He said Living Legends — We Made This Game is one like no other.
“It is dynamic,” said Carnesella. “The art makes you happy, and this piece gives you energy.”
King said her work is more than just action: “I want to give the viewer something to think and learn about,” said King.
McMahon said the collage is just the start. The legends of the National Football League and Major League Baseball collages are on the horizon.
Living Legends-We Made This Game will be on display along with other sporting art work at Icon Images Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be on display till the NBA Finals. For information call 305-576-4266 or visit www.wemadethisgameartwork.com.