The Real Facts behind the Image – Creator of Iconic Skeleton Clears up misrepresentations made in the media about his work
For Release -03-05-14 – New York, N.Y. – (Release from www.Skullman.com) The inspiring documentary film about the 1992 Lithuanian Basketball Team, The Other Dream Team hit the big screen in 2012. But few know the real story behind the infamous tie dyed uniforms worn by the team on the Bronze Medal Podium in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics depicted in the film. When the Lithuanian Olympic Basketball team wore NY artist Greg Speirs’ iconic design, it became a worldwide story and the Original Lithuanian Slam Dunking Skeleton became a historic symbol of Lithuania Basketball and part of the country of Lithuania’s new history. When the story broke the facts behind the artist’s creation were mischaracterized and credit for his major financial donation to the team was omitted from the story. The image came into this story independently from a New York artist and not from the rock group as had been reported.
According to the artist who created it, the design was not created as the icon of a rock group as had been misreported previously in the news. Speirs first major contribution of 100% of his profits ($450,000.), was given to the team and far eclipsed all donations of others, was also omitted from the story. In the film you will see the artist describe his inspiration for the infamous skeletal image which has come to represent the spirit of the team and used to promote the film’s run in theaters across the U.S. The fact is that the image was an independent creation that came from the artist and was not an icon of a musical group. Reporters were handed a pre- written storyline at the time and ran with it. As a consequence the story was misreported and is still being skewed today. After being informed of the facts many outlets chose to continue with the false narrative over the truth.
The artist also acquired the status as the major sponsor of the team when he turned down all money generated from sales of his creation, and instead let it all (100%) go to the team and Lithuanian charities. The donation eclipsed all of the funding by the big names involved. An effort was made to downplay his part and keep this fact out of stories and was not reported.
As the shirts continued selling news reports boasted that marketing of the shirts raised millions more that were given to charities and the team. This was all done using his trademark Slam Dunking Skeleton on merchandise like shirts. This second wave funded the 1996 Team, Lithuanian Children’s Charities and helped build the basketball school in Lithuania. Again reports failed to credit the artist although these donations ultimately came from him as the owner and creator of the image.
The origin of the Slam Dunking Skeleton – from the artist himself: “The 1992 Lithuanian Basketball Team represents what happens in freedom…people excel. The Lithuanian Basketball Team symbolized resistance against an oppressor, and the Slam Dunking Skeleton represented
resistance against an oppressor, and the Slam Dunking Skeleton represented them, a whole country’s team. The struggle of the Lithuanian team struck a chord with me and the Slam Dunking Skeleton image represented them. It symbolized the team, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, coming up from nothing and rising to overcome the obstacles, which are represented by the hands blocking the shot in the image. The image is one of breaking out of oppression symbolized by the skeleton finally slam dunking the basketball. It also represented what happened to the whole country of Lithuania. This was my interpretation when I created it in 1992 and its real meaning. It’s not a dead skeleton at all, but this skeleton represents rebirth and a new life. I know that the Lithuanians really understand what freedom is all about, and anywhere people love freedom Americans are there to help. Also, you can’t have freedom without free enterprise”, recalled Speirs. See the You Tube video and listen to the audio interview. He is not only the artist who created the image but is also the licensor of the property. “I would like to see where my money was spent, the basketball school and see where my money was sent to the Children’s charity and personally meet some of the people they gave my money to and that they say were helped”, said Speirs. Audio Interview VIDEO CLIP
Skullman history: The Slam-Dunking Skullman and dedication to the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic Basketball Team was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. On Dec. 07,1993. CLICK TO VIEW SKULLMAN NAISMITH BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME ENSHRINEMENT
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©1992 &®Greg Speirs