LeRoy Neiman was one of America’s most prominent and famous sports artists, documenting some of the most iconic athletes and moments in the 20th Century sports arena. From boxing, for which he as an artist-in-residence with Muhammad Ali, to baseball, basketball, racing and more, Neiman’s legacy is one that puts sports in the synonymous category of fine art. On his centennial birthdate, Beyond the Streets is proud to work with the LeRoy Neiman Foundation on special releases from the archives of one of the great painters of the last 100 years.
Berbrick x Tyson, 1986
At the height of his Kid Dynamite era, Mike Tyson’s iconic and bruising TKO of champion Berbrick in the 2nd round was the continuation of Tyson’s dominance in heavyweight boxing. Neiman’s pre-fight poster captures the artist’s signature style of creating iconic portraits of his sports subjects.
Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, 1976
By the mid-1970s, the New York Knicks had one of the most famous and hyper-styled rosters in the NBA. After winning the NBA title in 1973, the future Hall of Famer Earl “The Pearl” Monroe was one of basketball’s best players, and Neiman’s portrait in 1976 captures the legend in mid-career form.
It doesn’t get more iconic than the “Fight of the Century,” Ali vs Frazier at Madison Square Garden and perhaps the most highly anticipated fight in boxing history. That Frazier won, giving Ali’s his first defeat, and what would become the first part in a three-fight trilogy made Neiman’s work with Ali even more iconic. This work is a hallmark of the history of boxing and American sports.
By the early 1970’s, the American Basketball Association (ABA) had some of the most talented basketball players in the world, and was competing with the NBA for talent and attention. McGinnis was one of the great players from the ABA-era who went on to play in the NBA, with success in both leagues. The Hall of Famer was a marquee name in both leagues, and Neiman’s characterization of McGinnis captures the essence of 1970’s basketball.
They called them the “Big Red Machine” and Johnny Bench was the stalwart catcher of two World Series championships for the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and 1976. Bench has gone on to be a symbol for the catcher position and one of the most famed baseball players of the 1970s. Neiman’s work on Bench here is just as his legacy is remembered; throwing down a base stealer, in perfect form.
The 1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix in Las Vegas was a Formula One motor race held on October 17th, a lasting legacy of “super event” hosting the city was known for and LeRoy Neiman’s undaunting love of all sports.
In celebration of LeRoy Neiman's centennial birthday, we are proud to present a limited offer of the above posters in collaboration with The LeRoy Neiman Foundation. Available now!
“For an artist, watching a [Joe] Namath throw a football, or a Willie Mays hit a baseball is an experience far more overpowering than painting a beautiful woman or leading political figure.” —LeRoy Neiman, 1972