Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is pushing to have the Birmingham Crossplex named after Larry Langford and people are lol’ing. I’ve sided with this mayor on almost everything during his short tenure, but I’m torn on this one.
I know that Langford was crooked, but I also feel like his wild, unrealistic visions for Birmingham played a large role in kicking off the renaissance that our city has experienced. Maybe we didn’t get a beluga whale or a dome stadium, but he gave us this chip on our shoulder. He made us think we could be a city worthy of having the things that other cities had.
Plus, naming the CrossPlex “after” him doesn’t necessarily mean it will be called the “Larry Langford CrossPlex.” It could just be something that makes us think of him. Here are a few suggestions:
- The “Gene Chiznik CrossPlex.” Alabama fans will love it and it’ll remind us of Larry getting names wrong.
- The “John Papke is the worst CrossPlex.” Their feud is certainly one that deserves to live on forever, whether John is actually the worst or not. If you don’t remember this reference, the YouTube video is well worth Googling.
- The “2020 Olympic CrossPlex,” since I’m still holding out hope on that Larry-ism.
- The “Birmingham Dome.” I mean, it DOES have a roof!
Maybe it’s just too soon. With Mayor Langford’s recent release from prison and subsequent passing, we’ve been re-living all of the good and bad that came with his larger-than-life persona. It’s just poor timing to go from using the word “corrupt” to “honor” in the span of a month.
I’m also concerned that if Larry gets his name on a building, it could take us down a slippery slope we might not foresee. “The Roy Moore Center for Equality and Compassion” or “The Sherrif Entrekin Beach House Association” are right around the corner.
While Larry was entertaining and a world-class rabble-rouser, he didn’t play by the rules. Not only that, he broke the law in a state where our corruption cup overfloweth. The last thing we need to do is start naming buildings and putting up statues to honor people with problematic pasts… oh, wait.
I’m going to choose to remember all the good stuff about Larry. If you got the chance to hear him speak or even just ran into him at the grocery store, you know how captivating and engaging he could be. He was the kind of guy that would ask you your name and then say it back to you in conversation. That’s a fantastic quality… unless you’re Jon Paepcke. (seriously, Google it.)
Will Lochamy is co-host of the radio show, “Oh Brother Radio” on Birmingham Mountain Radio (107.3FM).