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Simply the Best

Simply the Best
Usage Conditions Apply
Bart Forbes, born 1939
Larry Joe Bird, born 7 Dec 1956
Wayne Gretzky, born 26 Jan 1961
Acrylic on canvas
Stretcher: 63.5 x 48.3 x 3.2cm (25 x 19 x 1 1/4")
Frame: 76.2 x 60.6 x 6.7cm (30 x 23 7/8 x 2 5/8")
Equipment\Sports Equipment\Basketball
Equipment\Sports Equipment\Skates
Larry Joe Bird: Male
Larry Joe Bird: Sports and Recreation\Athlete\Basketball
Larry Joe Bird: Sports and Recreation\Coach\Basketball
Wayne Gretzky: Male
Wayne Gretzky: Sports and Recreation\Athlete\Hockey
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Bart Forbes
Object number
Exhibition Label
Simply the Best
In the late winter of 1985, the cover of Time magazine featured this double portrait of basketball star Larry Bird (born 1956) and hockey great Wayne Gretzky (born 1961). The image ran with the headline Simply the Best, and in the accompanying article, the magazine described the pair as athletes whose excellence had “transcended the competition.” The praise was certainly well deserved. During twenty-one years of professional play, Gretzky recorded more goals, assists, and total points than any hockey player in history and was named to the All-Star team eighteen times. As for Bird, his achievements with the Boston Celtics included three Most Valuable Player awards, appearances in twelve All-Star games, and a points-scored record that placed him among the leading scorers of all time. Through the brilliance of their play, Bird and Gretzky both dominated and defined their respective sports for a generation of fans.
Collection Description
In 1978, Time magazine donated approximately eight hundred works of original cover art to the National Portrait Gallery. The museum is dedicated to telling the stories of individuals who have shaped the United States, and the Time Collection—featuring prominent international figures and events—enriches our understanding of the United States in a global context.
En 1978, la revista Time donó a la National Portrait Gallery cerca de 800 obras de arte originales creadas para sus portadas. Nuestro museo se dedica a narrar la historia de figuras que han contribuido a forjar el desarrollo de Estados Unidos, y es así que la Colección Time, que incluye retratos de importantes personalidades internacionales, nos ayuda a comprender mejor a nuestra nación en un contexto global.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
On View
NPG, South Gallery 342 Mezzanine