The Boston Celtics legend s revered in the same breath as other iconic Boston sports heroes – Carl Yastzremski, Bobby Orr, Doug Flutie, David Ortiz and Tom Brady.
Though he formally retired 22 years ago, Larry Bird is still idolized by Boston sports fans. That’s why it’s no surprise that the #33 jersey of beloved “Hick from French Lick” (Indiana) hangs from the rafters at TD Bank Garden in Boston.
Chapter Excerpt on Boston Celtics’ Larry Bird
Fondly remembered for step back jumpers, swishing nets, non-stop jabbering and long white legs in short green shorts, Bird is best known for winning basketball championships in Boston.
Most notably, his single name recalls multiple NBA banners hanging above a parquet wood basketball court in Boston. And, his #33 jersey hangs proudly over center court with other Boston Celtics greats like Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Satch Sanders, K.C. Jones, JoJo White, Cedric Maxwell, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish and Dave Cowens.
Larry Legend, the Hick from French Lick (IN) or simply Bird ranks is one of the most beloved basketball players in history. No first name or explanation is needed to identify the species of this once brilliant basketball playing Bird.
In 1978, Bird, along with Los Angeles Lakers’ legend Magic Johnson, battled in the NCAA Men’s Championship Game. The two forged the beginning of a basketball rivalry that would enrapture basketball fans for the next 13 years.
Voted college basketball’s best player as both the Naismith and Wooden Award recipient in the 1978-79 season, Bird finished his college playing days at Indiana State with a 30.3 career scoring average. He went on to play for the Boston Celtics who shockingly and shrewdly selected him as the 6th overall choice the year before they drafted him in the 1978 NBA Draft.
Bird’s ascent in the league was instantaneous. Not only did he live up to his initial billing, he soared past the Boston Celtics’ and NBA fans’ expectations.
In 1979, Larry Legend won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He also teamed with 7-footer Robert Parrish and 6’11” Kevin McHale to form one of the greatest front lines in NBA history. All three players were eventually elected into the NBA Hall of Fame.
During his career, Bird won three NBA Championships and three NBA Most Valuable Player Awards. A 12-time All-Star, Bird retired in 1992 with outstanding career numbers: 24 points per game, 10 rebounds per game and 6 assists per game. As his stats confirm, this deadly shooting Bird was regarded as both a highly skilled offensive player and a terrific rebounder.
During his entire NBA career, the blue collar Bird battled against his college nemesis Magic Johnson and established one of the NBA’s greatest individual rivalries. During the 1980s, Bird’s Celtics and Magic’s Lakers played as if their clubs were the only two NBA franchises competing for an NBA title.
Magic Johnson & Larry Bird Stories Rivalry
The storied rivalry between Bird and Magic is memorialized in books and television documentaries. That same rivalry is credited for having transformed the NBA into the wildly popular professional sports league it has become today.
The Bird and Magic relationship culminated in their playing for the 1992 USA Olympic Basketball Team in Barcelona, Spain. As members of the original USA Dream Team, Bird and Magic helped revolutionize the sport and became the first two global basketball icons.
Unlike his nemesis Magic Johnson who would become a household name, the intensely private Hick from French Lick chose a different way of living his life.
Despite Larry Bird’s private lifestyle, there’s no doubt this immediately recognizable, single named athlete has left an indelible mark on the sport of basketball. He continues in the game today as an executive with the Indiana Pacers organization.
Larry is certainly is one Bird who soared above his competitors.
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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!