By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
The statue behind the Reilly Center honoring legendary St. Bonaventure basketball player Bob Lanier is no more.
The eight-year-old, life-size wooden statue, which was commissioned by Buffalo attorney and 1968 Bonaventure graduate Carl Paladino, had already been rotting when high winds last Tuesday knocked it down and it crumbled to pieces, according to athletic director Tim Kenney.
The statue to honor the Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer was carved in 2007 from the trunk of a 150-year-old maple tree that was among thousands of trees destroyed in the 2006 October snowstorm in Buffalo, Lanier’s hometown. It was made as part of Carvings for a Cause, an effort to raise money to pay for the reforestation of the region. Paladino had the sculpture made as a surprise to Lanier, and it was unveiled as part of the ceremony prior to the 2007-08 season that dedicated the Reilly Center court in the big man’s name.
Kenney said there are currently no plans to replace the statue.