InterBasket > profiles > Larry
  InterBasket > Player Profiles > Larry Bird, Usa > talk From "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 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...

Larry Bird Profile

Name: Larry Joe Bird
Nickname: Larry Legend
Born: 12/07/1956
Status: Retired as player, retired as coach, active as General Manager of the Indiana Pacers
Origin: West Baden Springs, Indiana
Height: 6-9/2,06m
Weight: 220lbs/99,9kg
Schools: Northwood Institute, Springs Valley High School (French Lick, IN), Indiana State University, IN
Drafted: 1978, First Round, 6th overall pick by the Boston Celtics
Languages: English
Website: Larry Legend & InterBasket
Teams (jersey): Indiana State, Boston Celtics (33), USA National Team (1992's Dream Team),
Ibn Notes: Larry Bird was a once-in-a-Lifetime player. A deadly shooting touch, an understated intensity and confidence, a Zen feeling for the game.  Many have laid backhanded compliments about Larry Bird; that he wasn't the quickest player or couldn't jump over a piece f paper, and this may be true, but Larry Bird was still a great athlete. You don't become one the five best players ever to play the game by just being a hardworker and smart.  If just being a hardworker equated to superstardom, then Bo Outlaw and Ryan Bowen would be superstars. 

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 Magic 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.
 Click here to see video of Bird's famous three-point contest win... From CNN/SI (Jack McCullen): "...the 1986 All-Star Game in Dallas...the NBA was trying a new experiment called the three-point shootout. No one was sure whether the competition would be taken seriously by the players and how it would be received by the fans.

Well, Bird took it seriously. From the moment he was announced as one of the eight shootout contestants, Bird gleefully talked about the competition and proclaimed himself to be the favorite...

In Dallas, Bird approached the contest with the same kind of intensity—single-minded yet gleeful. Obviously, he was considered one of the favorites, but there was the feeling that he was a little slow on the release, and that the man to beat was Leon Wood, a long-shooting rookie marksman from the Philadelphia 76ers. I was there when Bird approached Wood at the morning shootaround on the day of the contest.

"Leon," said Bird in his distinctive Hoosier twang, "I've been watching you. Are you shooting different than you used to?"

"I don't think so," said Wood. "Why?"

"I don't know," said Bird. "Something looks different about your release. Don't worry about it, though."

Then Bird walked away, leaving a bewildered Wood to ponder what the greatest player in the world had noticed about his form. Bird, of course, had seen nothing different. But you could've stuck a fork in Leon Wood right then because he was done.

Later, as the shooters dressed in the locker room, Bird stood up and announced, "All right, who's playing for second place?" Then he went out and dusted off Craig Hodges 22-12 in the last round, raising his finger as he released the final ball. By the time it went through the basket, Bird was already heading for the sideline, mission accomplished.

"I'm the three-point king, I'm the three-point king," a smiling Bird proclaimed after it was over."

  Accomplishments: Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1998); NBA champion (1981, '84, '86); Olympic gold medalist (1992); NBA Finals MVP (1984, '86); 3-time (Consecutive) NBA MVP (1984, 1985, 1986); Nine-time All-NBA First Team (1980-88); All-NBA Second Team (1990); All-Defensive Second Team (1982, '83, '84); NBA Rookie of the Year (1980).

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? (