Boston Celtics

Larry Bird looks on during the 2018 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Symphony Hall on September 7, 2018 in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Larry Bird may have been the ultimate badass during his playing career with the Boston Celtics. But the badassery never extended to getting even one tattoo.

Clearly, an artist took some liberties with Bird’s likeness for a mural in Indianapolis that is gaining attention. The extra eyeballs on the mural are because Bird is not a fan of it.

And you can see why: he’s covered in tattoos – even right on his effing face!?

A mural of former Celtics great Larry Bird in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Note: Photo cropped. Credit: Steve Baker/Flickr)

A mural of former Celtics great Larry Bird in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Note: Photo cropped. Credit: Steve Baker/Flickr)

The mural is street artist Jules Muck’s take on Bird’s first Sports Illustrated photoshoot, from his days at Indiana State. She told the Indy Star that she meant no disrespect toward the Celtics legend and typically adds tattoos to non-tatted people as a way of having fun with her artwork.

“Larry deserves some sort of prestigious mural,” said Muck. “That’s not my calling. That’s not what I’m here to do. I just wanted to have a little fun.”

Per the Indy Star, Bird’s lawyer Gary Sallee said he simply wants to protect his established brand. They characterize the mural as a “departure” from his brand. Sallee says Bird simply “doesn’t want to be seen as a tattooed guy.”

The two sides have reportedly agreed to leave the mural up, but with modifications. Muck will cover up all but one of the tattoos – fittingly, “cover-ups” are a common practice among tattoo artists to help regretful customers. Among the tats that will be removed are a shamrock that commemorated his Celtics career. Muck will be allowed to leave the tattoo of “Indiana” on his left forearm, and will be able to add her “Muck Rock” signature in another spot.

That will probably be on Bird’s uniform, because it’s clear how he feels about drawing on his arms. And neck. And face.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at

Note: This article previously stated Larry Bird played college basketball at Indiana, which is incorrect. He played at Indiana State.