Blair Buswell, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s chief sculptor, urges players not to smile when they’re sitting for him because Buswell says teeth don’t look good on bronze busts. But Michael Strahan insisted.
Strahan’s bust, which will be unveiled when he is enshrined in the Hall of Fame tonight, will display the gap-toothed smile that is his signature, because Strahan doesn’t want to be immortalized in Canton without his most recognizable feature.
“I presented a unique challenge, ’cause I told him I wanted to smile,” Strahan told the New Yorker. “If I close my mouth, people won’t know who it is.”
So Strahan sat for four hours while Buswell painstakingly measured his mouth with calipers and attempted to get those teeth exactly right. Buswell is still not sure that was enough.
“I’ll just say it’s not the most popular choice,” Buswell said of Hall of Famers showing off their teeth.
Players don’t have final say over how their busts look (the Hall prohibits busts from including jewelry, eye black or any type of headwear), but Buswell does let them decide whether or not to wear a toothy grin. Strahan hasn’t seen his bust yet; he’ll find out how it looks when the bust is presented at his enshrinement ceremony. But it’s safe to say Strahan made the right call: Fans for generations to come should see with that well-known grin.