BALTIMORE—Commemorating his Hall of Fame career, the Baltimore Ravens honored “a leader who made good men great” Thursday when the team unveiled a statue of legendary linebacker Ray Lewis, dressed in the missing white suit Lewis was wearing on the night of January 31, 2000, when Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar were fatally stabbed.
At the dedication ceremony outside M&T Bank Stadium, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti thanked Lewis for his 17 seasons of service to the team. “No player in Ravens history ever gave more than Ray Lewis,” Biscoitti said, gesturing towards the sculpture depicting Lewis as he might have looked on the night of the infamous double murder.
“Ray, it’s impossible to convey how much joy you’ve given the people of this city,” General Manager Ozzie Newsome said to the 39-year-old Lewis, who pled guilty to obstruction of justice in connection to the murders in 2000. “I’m not sure if anyone will ever fill your shoes.”
While the white suit Lewis was wearing the night of the murders has never been found, sculptor Fred Kail told reporters that he undertook extensive research to accurately depict how Lewis would have looked in the moments following the killings. The eight-foot tall likeness is crafted with extraordinary attention to detail, including arterial spray consistent with standing in front of a stabbing victim, as well as the hotel laundry bag Lewis used to dispose of the suit in a dumpster behind a fast food restaurant. Additionally, gazing into the statue’s eyes reveals the silhouettes of Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, companions of the linebacker whom Lewis testified against in exchange for reduced charges.
The future Hall of Famer, who agreed to financial settlements with the victims’ families in 2004, thanked the Ravens organization and fans, declaring “I can’t thank Baltimore enough. I can’t thank the Ravens enough… I’m never leaving. This is forever my city.” No comment was received from those in attendance at the Super Bowl XXXIV celebrations in Atlanta on whether Lewis’ decision to “never leave” the city of Baltimore should have been made 15 years ago.
“God is great,” Lewis concluded, wiping tears from his eyes.