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Larry Bird, Usa
NBA.com: "For 13 seasons with the
Boston Celtics, from 1979-80 through 1991-92, Bird personified hustle,
consistency and excellence in all areas of play--as a scorer, a passer, a rebounder, a defender, a team player, and, perhaps above all, as a clutch
performer. Bird was so self-confident that he was known to waltz up to the
opponents' bench before tipoff and predict a 40-point performance for himself.
He was such a deadly shooter that he sometimes practiced three-pointers with his
eyes closed. Among Bird's contemporaries, perhaps only, Earvin "Magic" Johnson
was considered a better passer, a player who he would inextricably be linked
with forever. Few played tougher than Bird, who would leap into crowds and over
press tables for loose balls...
Bird was the embodiment of "Celtics Pride." He was a classy, confident, hardworking player who thrived on pressure and inspired teammates to excel. Like Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, John Havlicek and Dave Cowens, the low-key Bird force the spotlight upon himself, but rather one who brought out the best in the players around him. But even those legendary players didn't fill Boston Garden, wowing fans and dominating games as Bird did.
Bird helped rebuild a Celtics franchise that had been suffering from substandard play and poor attendance in the late 1970s. With Bird as the focal point of a well-rounded squad, the Celtics won three NBA titles and 10 Atlantic Division crowns. In addition to his three championship rings, Bird piled up an awesome collection of personal achievements. He became only the third player (and the first non-center) to win three consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player Awards. He was a 12-time All-Star, a two-time NBA Finals MVP and a nine-time member of the All-NBA First Team. He led the league in free-throw percentage four times.
An obsessive perfectionist, Bird was idolized by Celtic fans and basketball purists of all allegiances. His last-second heroics, ranging from seemingly impossible reverse layups to miraculous 35-foot bombs over multiple defenders, never ceased to amaze those who followed his career.
"Larry Bird has helped define the way a generation of basketball fans has come to view and appreciate the NBA," said Commissioner David J. Stern when Bird retired due to a painful back condition in 1992, after capturing a gold medal with the original Dream Team at the Olympics in Barcelona."
From Wikipedia.com: Bird received a basketball scholarship to Indiana University in 1976. At the time, Indiana was one of the premier college basketball programs in the country, led by esteemed head coach Bobby Knight. However, Bird "was homesick and overwhelmed by the size and population of the university” left the school after one month and returned to French Lick. After briefly attending a local community college and working numerous odd jobs around the town (including a stint as a garbage man), Bird enrolled at Indiana State University, where he was coached by Bob King. Bob King suffered a heart attack prior to the 1978-79 season and assistant Bill Hodges was promoted to head coach. Bird led the ISU Sycamores to the NCAA championship game in 1979, his senior season, only to lose to the Michigan State University Spartans, who were led by his future NBA rival, Earvin "Magic" Johnson. The Sycamores finished the season 33-1. That year, Bird won the Naismith and Wooden Awards, given to the year's top male college basketball player. After playing only three years at Indiana State, he left as the fifth-highest scorer in NCAA history.
Seriously?: Larry Bird was so popular that there was a song written about him... yes, that's right, a Larry Bird Song; "Indiana Has a New State Bird" written by Thomas W. Montgomery... click here for the lyrics...
Name: Larry Joe Bird
The Boston Celtics made Larry Bird their first round selection
in the 1978 NBA draft, however Bird had one year of NCAA eligibility left and
he decided to play one more year at ISU. Good decision. Bird came back for the 1979
NCAA season and promptly led the Indiana State Sycamores to an undefeated
regular season, a season that continued undefeated until the NCAA Title Game,
where he faced up against
Johnson and the Michigan State Spartans. ISU finished the season 33-1. This game ignited the best basketball rivalry of the 1980s, and it was no
coincidence that the revival of the NBA occurred during this same time.
|Larry Bird Links From our forum: Larry Bird, A Player For the Ages Articles and other resources: A Player for the Ages (CNNSI), Redick, Morrison To Share 'Larry Bird Trophy For Certain Intangibles' (The Onion), Larry Bird #33 Highlight Clip (YouTube), NBA Superstars Video; Larry Bird with "Small Town" by John Cougar Mellencamp (YouTube), Larry Bird ESPN SportsCentury (YouTube), He Just Loved the Game (CNN/SI), Larry Bird: An Apostle of Basketball Jesus (ESPN Page 2), Follow that Bird, Why Does Every White Player Get Compared to Larry Legend? (Slate.com)|