Mariota Heisman display traditionally blessed, will serve to inspire youth

Eugene resident, Jordan Giles, looks at his reflection in Permanent Heisman Trophy Display honoring Marcus Mariota

Though Marcus Mariota’s permanent Heisman trophy was unveiled at Oregon’s Hatfield-Dowlin Complex in August, today it received a traditional Hawaiian blessing.

Mariota and his family, along with Nike Co-Founder, Phil Knight, Oregon Coach MarK Helfrich and several other individuals, participated in a ceremony led by Kuma Kaina Barba. Barba used salt water from Hawaii to bless the display and a traditional lei was laid across the display. As part of the ceremony, Mariota, himself, cut the lei.

As reported by, Kuma Barba spoke to those in attendance.

“Let us all be inspired by what our ohana here has done for us,” Kuma Barba said. “. . .May people come and see this light, this hope.”

As Mariota would want it, the display gives credit to all those who helped pave the way for his journey- his family, former teammates, coaches and fans. But perhaps it’s the displays message of hope that is most inspiring.

Over the course of his career, Mariota has succeeded on the field, while  humbly giving back and inspiring the next generation. In Hawaii, he is looked up to by young Pop Warner players all over the island. In Oregon, he was a beloved local hero who spent his spare time volunteering kids at the Boys and Girls Club. And now, in Tennessee, just last week, he helped make one young fan’s dream come true through the Make a Wish Foundation.

It was with those youth in mind that the display’s designer, Nike’s own Todd Van Horn created the display to be reflective.

“We wanted for the younger generation to be able to come up and see their reflection in the podium itself,” Van Horne said in August.

Many Oregon players will come and go and as Mariota told me himself, his records will eventually be broken. But, as Oregon fans know, Mariota’s legacy will live on for a very, very long time.

Thank you, Marcus, for inspiring the next generation.


Follow Nichole on Twitter @UOgridirongirl

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