Michael Strahan was warned against it. He was told that teeth don’t look good on Hall of Fame busts.
The former New York Giants’ defensive end insisted anyway. He was adamant that his bust include his gap teeth, and so it will.
As told by Reeves Wiedeman of the New Yorker, sculptor Blair Buswell tries hard to discourage players from showing their teeth because teeth just don’t translate well on the bronze busts.
Buswell lets players choose the likeness they prefer (young or old, bearded or clean-shaven), but he typically discourages them from smiling. “I give them disclosures, and one of them is that bronze teeth never look right…”
Strahan still chose to have his famous smile included, however, because that is how so many fans know him.
“I presented a unique challenge, ’cause I told him I wanted to smile,” the former Giants defensive end and N.F.L. single-season sack leader, now known more broadly as a daytime-talk-show host, said recently. Strahan’s logic was simple: “If I close my mouth, people won’t know who it is.”
For Buswell, who doesn’t like doing teeth anyway, this was especially challenging because he had never done a gap before. The in-person sitting for Strahan to try and get the bust right took over four hours as a result.
I get the sense Buswell is still stressed about the whole thing, mostly because he keeps laying the groundwork of disclaimers and qualifiers in case Strahan complains later:
But Strahan was insistent—“I want to be the smiling giant”—so the sculptor agreed. “I’ll do it,” Buswell said. “I’ll just say it’s not the most popular choice.”
If Strahan does not like the way his gap teeth look on his bust in Canton, Buswell will be the guy in the background saying “I told you so.”