As I sit down to construct this post about one of my all time favorite basketball players, I think back to all the stories that Bone Daddy has shared with me over the years about his beloved Boston Celtics….as I can’t tell you how many times he told me stories about growing up in Midland, Texas in the 1960’s while watching every Celtics game that was televised during that historic era of the NBA…for it was a time when a young West Texas boy was inspired by the likes of Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohm, Don Nelson, Bailey Howell, Satch Sanders, John Havlicek, K C and Sam Jones, Bill Sharman, et al, to immediately after a Celtics game, to go across the street to Sam Houston Elementary School’s basketball hoops on the playground and shoot endlessly until he was called to evening dinner with the family. Therefore, posting this story about the best individual player to ever wear Celtic green is a real treat….cuz Larry Bird was a Celtic player who was beyond special….not to mention that he and Magic Johnson brought the NBA game back to life from the depths of despair in the decade of the 1980’s…..therefore, we hope you enjoy this post as much as we enjoy posting it….for The Hick From French Lick left a legacy that will last throughout the ages.
NBA & NCAAM – 1979 To 1992 – Documentary – “Larry Bird, A Basketball Legend”
Larry Bird is an American former professional basketball player, coach and executive in the National Basketball Association (NBA)….who was nicknamed “the Hick from French Lick” and “Larry Legend”…..as Bird is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
NBA & NCAAM – 1979 To 1992 – Special –“Larry Bird Night At The Boston Garden”
Growing up in French Lick, Indiana, he was a local basketball phenom…..who as a highly recruited, he initially signed to play for coach Bobby Knight of the Indiana Hoosiers…..but dropped out after one month and returned to French Lick to attend a local community college…..then the next year he attended the smaller Indiana State University….while playing ultimately for three years for the Sycamores. Drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 6th overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft after his second year at Indiana State….but Bird elected to stay in college and play one more season….when he then led his team to an undefeated regular season in 1978-1979. ….as the season finished with a memorable national championship game match-up against Michigan State….which was a team that featured Magic Johnson….and thus beginning a career-long rivalry that the two shared for more than a decade.
NCAAM & NBA – 1979 – Boston Celtics Special – “The Arrival Of Larry Bird”
Bird entered the NBA for the 1979-1980 season….where he made an immediate impact….while starting at power forward and leading the Celtics to a 32-win improvement over the previous season before being eliminated from the playoffs in the Conference Finals. He played for the Celtics during his entire 13 season professional career….while leading them to five NBA finals appearances and three NBA championships. He played most of his career with forward Kevin McHale and center Robert Parish….which was considered by some to be the greatest front court in NBA history. Bird was a 12-time NBA All-Star…..who won two NBA Finals MVP awards….and received the NBA Most Valuable Player Award three consecutive times in 1984, 1985 and 1986…..thus making him the only forward in league history to do so. Bird was also a member of the gold medal-winning 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team known as “The Dream Team”…..and was voted to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996…..while being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998…..and was inducted into the Hall of Fame again in 2010 as a member of “The Dream Team”.
NBA – 1956 To 1979 – Special – “The Heartbreaking Larry Bird Story You Don’t Know”
NCAAM -1977 To 1979 – Special – “Larry Bird Is The # 1 NCAAM Shooter Of All Time”
A versatile player at both forward positions….who could play both inside and outside….while being one of the 1st players in the league to take advantage of the newly adopted three-point line. Bird was rated the greatest NBA small forward of all time by Fox Sports in 2016.
NBA – 1979 To 1992 – Highlights Special – “Larry Bird The Greatest Ever”
After retiring as a player, Bird served as head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000….who was named NBA Coach of the Year for the 1997–1998 season….and later led the Pacers to a berth in the 2000 NBA Finals. In 2003, Bird was named president of basketball operations for the Pacers, and held the position until he retired in 2012. He was named NBA Executive of the Year for the 2012 season…..then Larry Legend returned to the Pacers as president of basketball operations in 2013…..where he remained in that role until 2017. Larry Bird is the only person in NBA history to be named Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, NBA Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year.
NBA – 1979 To 1992 – Special – “Larry Bird Ultimate Mixtape”
Bird was born in West Baden Springs, Indiana, to Georgia and Claude Joseph “Joe” Bird….who was a veteran of the Korean War. Bird’s parents were of Irish, Scottish and some Native American descent on both sides of his family…..and he has four brothers and a sister. He was raised in nearby French Lick….where his mother worked two jobs to support Larry and his five siblings. Bird has said that being poor as a child still motivates him “to this day”. Georgia and Joe divorced when Larry was in high school….and Joe committed suicide about a year later…..as Larry used basketball as an escape from his family troubles….while starring for Springs Valley High School by averaging 31 points, 21 rebounds, and 4 assists as a senior on his way to becoming the school’s all-time scoring leader.
Basketball – 1971 To 1974 – Special – “The House That Bird Built” – Interview With High School Coach Gary Holland + Spring Valley AD John Henry
Basketball – 1971 To 1974 – Larry Bird Spring Valley High School Highlights
Basketball – 1974 – Larry Bird Specials – Stories About Bird From His High School Teammates & Coaches
Basketball – 1971 To 1974 – Larry Bird Special – Interview With His Spring Valley High School Coach Jim Jones & Larry Legend
Basketball – 1973 – Highlight – Spring Valley Vs Loogootee – Larry Bird High School Game
Bird received a scholarship to play college basketball for the Indiana Hoosiers in 1974…..but after less than a month on the Indiana University campus he dropped out of school…..while finding the adjustment between his small hometown and the large student population of Bloomington to be overwhelming. He returned to French Lick and enrolled at Northwood Institute (now Northwood University) in nearby West Baden….when he worked municipal jobs for a year before enrolling at Indiana State University in Terre Haute in 1975…..where he had a successful three-year career with the Sycamores….while helping them reach the NCAA tournament for the 1st time in school history with a 33–0 record….when they played the 1979 championship game against Michigan State…..as Indiana State lost the game 75–64….with Bird scoring 19 points but making only 7 of 21 shots. The game achieved the highest-ever television rating for a college basketball game, in large part because of the match-up between Bird and Spartans’ point guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson…..which started a rivalry that lasted throughout their professional careers. Despite failing to win the championship, Bird earned numerous year-end awards and honors for his outstanding play….. which included the Naismith College Player of the Year Award. For his college career, he averaged 30.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game….while leading the Sycamores to an 81–13 record during his tenure. Bird also appeared in one game for the baseball team, going 1-for-2 with 2 RBI. He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. Bird’s youngest brother, Eddie Bird, also played basketball at Indiana State University.
NCAAM – 1974 – Special – “The Story Of Larry Bird Going To And Leaving From Indiana University”
NCAAM – 1976 To 1979 – Special – Larry Bird Indiana State Career Highlights
NCAAM – 1976 To 1979 – ESPN U With Reece Davis Special – “Larry Bird # 4 College Basketball Player All Time”
NCAAM – 1979 – NBC Game Of Week Hilites W/ Jim Simpson & Al Maguire – Indiana State Vs Wichita State – Featuring Larry Bird W/ 49 Pts + 18 Reb
NCAAM – 1979 – Special – Indiana State Basketball Team’s 1979 Run To National Championship – Featuring Larry Bird
NCAAM – 1979 – NCAA Tournament Semifinals Highlights – Indiana State Vs DePaul – Featuring Larry Bird’s 35 Pts.
NCAAM – 1979 – NCAA Tournament Finals Highlights – Michigan St Vs Indiana St – Featuring Larry Bird Vs Magic Johnson
Bird was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 6th overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft…..but he didn’t sign with the Celtics immediately…..as he instead played out his final season at Indiana State and led the Sycamores to the NCAA title game. Celtics General Manager Red Auerbach publicly stated that he would not pay Bird more than any Celtic on the current roster….but Bird’s agent Bob Woolf told Auerbach that Bird would reject any sub-market offers and simply enter the 1979 draft instead…..which meant that Boston’s rights would expire when the draft began on June 25…..as Bird would have been the likely # 1 pick…..so, after protracted negotiations, Bird inked a five-year, $3.25 million contract with the team on June 8….thus making him the highest-paid rookie in sports history. Shortly afterwards, NBA draft eligibility rules were changed to prevent teams from drafting players before they were ready to sign….which is a rule known as the Bird Collegiate Rule.
NBA – 1979 – Celtics Special – “The Arrival Of Larry Bird”
In his rookie season of 1979 / 1980, Bird immediately transformed the Celtics into a title contender…..as the team improved its win total by 32 games from the year before he was drafted…..while finishing 1st in the Eastern Conference. In his career debut game, Bird recorded 14 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in a 114–106 win over the Houston Rockets. On November 14th, 1979, Bird recorded his 1st career triple-double with 23 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists in a 115–111 win over the Detroit Pistons. On November 23rd, Bird recorded his first 30-point scoring game….in addition to 11 rebounds and 3 assists in a 118–103 win over the Indiana Pacers. With averages of 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.7 steals per game for the season, he was selected to the All-Star Team…..and was named Rookie of the Year. In the Conference Finals, Boston was eliminated by the Philadelphia 76’ers.
NBA – 1980 – Special – Larry Bird Rookie Season Highlights
NBA – 1980 – CBS Game Of Week Highlights – San Diego Clippers Vs Boston Celtics – With Larry Bird’s 36 Pts / 7 Rebs / 4 Asst
NBA – 1980 – CBS Game Of Week Highlights – Celtics Vs Knicks – Larry Bird 28 Pts / 20 Rebs / 8 Asst
NBA – 1980 – All Star Game Highlights – Larry Bird W/ 7 Pts / 7 Asst / 6 Rebs In 23 Minutes
Before the 1980–81 season, the Celtics selected forward Kevin McHale in the draft…..and then acquired center Robert Parish from the Golden State Warriors….thus forming a Hall of Fame trio for years to come…..as the frontcourt of Bird, McHale, and Parish is regarded as one of the greatest in NBA history. Behind Bird’s leadership and Boston’s upgraded roster….that is when the Celtics again advanced to the Conference Finals for a rematch with the 76’ers…..when the Celtics fell behind 3–1 to start the series….but won the next three games to advance to the Finals against the Houston Rockets….as they won the NBA Finals in six games….thus and earning Bird his 1st NBA title. He averaged 21.9 points, 14 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game for the postseason…..and 15.3 points, 15.3 rebounds, and 7 assists per game for the Finals.
NBA – 1981 – Game Of The Week Highlights – Larry Bird Vs Warriors
NBA – 1981 – NBA Playoffs – Highlights Of Larry Bird Closing Out The Bulls
NBA – 1981 – Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 Highlights – 76’ers Vs Celtics – One Of Best Playoff Games Ever
NBA – 1981 – Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 Highlights – 76’ers Vs Celtics – Featuring Larry Bird Vs Dr J
NBA – 1981 – NBA Finals Game 1 Highlights – Rockets Vs Celtics – With Larry Bird’s 18 Pts / 21 Rebs / 9 Asst
NBA – 1981 – NBA Finals Highlights – Rockets Vs Celtics – Featuring All Of Larry Bird’s Pts / Rebs / Asst
At the 1982 All-Star Game, Bird scored 19 points en route to winning the All-Star Game MVP Award…..plus, at the conclusion of the season, he earned his 1st All-Defensive Team selection…..and eventually finished runner-up in Most Valuable Player Award voting to Moses Malone. In the Conference Finals, the Celtics faced the 76’ers for the 3rd consecutive year….while losing in seven games. Boston’s misfortunes continued into the next season, with Bird again finishing 2nd in MVP voting to Malone…..and the team losing in the Conference Semifinals to the Milwaukee Bucks.
NBA – 1982 – Celtics Special – Rare Highlights Of Larry Bird Vs Philadelphia 76’ers
NBA – 1982 – All Star Game Highlights – Featuring MVP Larry Bird W/ 19 Pts / 12 Rebs / 5 Asst / 1 Steal / 1 Blk In 23 Minutes – With Dick Stockton & Bill Russell
NBA – 1982 – Game Of The Week – Nuggets Vs Celtics – Featuring Larry Bird W/ 36 Pts / 18 Rebs / 6 Steals
NBA – 1982 – Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 Highlights – Celtics Vs 76’ers
NBA – 1983 – Eastern Conference Semifinals Highlights – Milwaukee Bucks Vs Boston Celtics
NBA – 1982 – NBA Greatest Duels Special Highlights – Celtics Larry Bird Vs 76’ers Andrew Toney
Bird was named MVP of the 1983–84 season after averaging 24.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. In the playoffs, the Celtics avenged their loss from the year before to the Bucks by winning in five games in the Conference Finals to advance to the Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. In Game Four, the Lakers…..which was led by Bird’s college rival Magic Johnson, were on the verge of taking a commanding 3–1 series lead before a flagrant foul was committed on Kurt Rambis that resulted in a brawl…..and caused the Lakers to lose their composure….which resulted in a Boston came back to win the game…..while leading the Celts to eventually winning the series in seven. Bird was named Finals MVP behind 27.4 points, 14 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game.
NBA – 1984 – Eastern Conference Playoffs Game 7 Highlights – Knicks Vs Celtics
NBA – 1984 – NBA Playoff Special – “The Passion And Pride Of The Playoffs & Finals”
NBA – 1984 – Special Highlights – The Finals – Lakers Vs Celtics – With Magic Vs Bird
NBA – 1984 – NBA Finals Game 7 – Lakers Vs Celtics – Featuring Magic Johnson Vs Larry Bird
On December 9, 1984, Bird recorded 48 points to go along with 14 rebounds and 5 assists in a 128–127 win over the Atlanta Hawks…..then on March 12th of the 1984–85 season, Bird scored a career-high and franchise record 60 points in a game against the Atlanta Hawks. The performance came just nine days after Kevin McHale set the previous Celtics record for points in a game with 56. At the conclusion of the year, Bird was named MVP for the 2nd consecutive season behind averages of 28.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game…..as Boston advanced through the playoffs to earn a rematch with the Lakers…..however, this time losing in six games.
NBA – 1985 – Game Of The Week – Hawks Vs Celtics – Featuring Larry Bird’s 60 Pts
In mid-1985, Bird injured his back shoveling crushed rock to create a driveway at his mother’s house. At least partially as a result of this, he experienced back problems for the remainder of his career. Then, before the start of the 1985–86 season, the Celtics made a daring trade for Bill Walton…. who was an All-Star center with a history of injury….but the risk paid off…..as Walton’s acquisition helped Boston win a league best 67 games. One of Bird’s career highlights occurred at the 1986 NBA All-Star Weekend when he walked into the locker room at the inaugural Three-Point Shootout and asked who was going to finish second before winning the shootout.
NBA – 1986 – NBA 3-Point Shootout – With Craig Hodges Vs Larry Bird In Finals
NBA – 1980 To 1992 – Special – The Complete Compilation of Larry Bird’s Greatest Stories Told By NBA Players & Legends
NBA – 2020 – Basketball Time Machine Presents – What NBA Legends Think Of Larry Bird
On November 27, 1985, Bird recorded 47 points along with 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in a 132–124 win over the Detroit Pistons. On March 10, 1986, Bird scored 50 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 5 assists in a 115–116 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. With averages of 25.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 6.8 assists, and 2 steals per game, Bird became just the 3rd player in NBA history to win three consecutive MVP Awards. In the playoffs, the Celtics lost only one game through the first three rounds en route to a match-up against the Rockets in the Finals…..when in Game 6 of the series, Bird recorded a triple-double with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists as the Celtics won the Finals series 4 games to 2 against the Rockets. Bird averaged 24 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game for the championship round. The ’86 Celtics are commonly ranked as one of the greatest basketball teams of all-time…..with the Boston Globe‘s Peter May and Grantland’s Bill Simmons listing them at # 1.
NBA – 1986 – 1st Rnd Playoffs Gme 2 Highlights – Bulls Vs Celtics – Michael Jordan W/ 63 Pts + Larry Bird 36 Pts / 12 Rebs / 8 Asst
NBA 1986 – NBA Playoffs Special Highlights – “Evidence Of Larry Bird As Greatest Of All Time”
NBA – 1986 – Mavericks Vs Celtics – Featuring Larry Bird With 50 Pts / 11 Rebs / 5 Assts
NBA – 1986 – Celtics Vs Trail Blazers Game Highlights – Featuring Larry Bird W/ 47 Pts / 14 Rebs / 11 Asst – With 20 Pts Being Scored Left Handed And Scoring Basket To Force OT + Winning Basket In OT
NBA – 1986 – Rockets Vs Celtics – Possibly Bird’s Greatest Game – “I Should Have Quit Right There” Said Bird
NBA – 2021 – Special – Clayton Crowley Making A Case For The 1986 Celtics Being The Greatest NBA Team Of All Time
In 1987, the Celtics made their last Finals appearance of Bird’s career…..after fighting through difficult series against the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons. In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons….. with five seconds remaining in the game…..and Boston trailing the Pistons 107–106….that’s when Bird stole an inbound pass….and while falling out of bounds, Bird turned and passed the ball to teammate Dennis Johnson….who converted a game-winning 2-point layup with less than a second left….as the dramatic play saved the series for the Celtics. When they reached the NBA Finals, the Celtics were hampered by devastating injuries…..and lost to a dominant Lakers team that had won 65 games during the season…..as the Celtics ended up losing to the Lakers in six games….with Bird averaging 24.2 points on .445 shooting, 10 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game in the championship series.
NBA – 1987 – Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 – Pistons Vs Celtics – Featuring Larry Bird’s Iconic Steal
NBA – 1987 – Game Of The Week Highlights – Knicks Vs Celtics – W/ Larry Bird’s 47 Points
NBA – 1987 – Pistons Vs Celtics Special – “How Dennis Rodman Disrespected Larry Bird And Had To Pay For It”
NBA – 1985 To 1992 – Celtic Special – “How Larry Bird And Bill Laimbeer Became Hated Enemies”
NBA – 1987 – NBA Finals Official Film – Lakers Vs Celtics – Magic Vs Bird
NBA – 1987 – NBA Finals Game 3 Highlights – Lakers Vs Celtics – With Larry Bird’s 30 Pts / 12 Reb / 4 Asst
NBA – 1987 – Rnd 1 NBA Playoffs Game 3 Highlights – Celtics Vs Bulls – Featuring Larry Bird Dominating Michael Jordan
The Celtics fell short in 1988 losing to the Detroit Pistons in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals…..as the Pistons made up from the heartbreak the previous season.
NBA – 1988 – Game Of The Week Highlights – Spurs Vs Celtics – With A Larry Bird Triple Double Of 39 Pts / 17 Rebs / 10 Asst
NBA – 1988 – NBA 3-Point Shootout – Larry Bird Wins 3rd Title In A Row Against Dale Ellis
NBA – 1988 – Game of the Week Highlights – Celtics Vs Pacers – With Larry Bird Scoring 34 Pts On Rookie Reggie Miller
NBA – 1988 – Game of Week Hilites – Bulls Vs Celtics – W/ Larry Bird’s 44 Pts / 10 Rebs + Michael Jordan’s 39 Pts / 8 Asst In Scottie Pipen’s Rookie Season
NBA – 1988 – Playoffs Game 1 Highlights – Hawks Vs Celtics – Larry Bird’s Record-Setting & Near Perfect 1st Quarter W/ 24 Pts
NBA – 1988 – Game of Week Highlights – Celtics Vs Rockets – Bird W/ 44 Pts
NBA – 1988 – Game of Week Highlights – Suns Vs Celtics – With Bird’s 49 Pts
NBA – 1988 – Game of Week Hilights – Celtics Vs Warriors – W/ Bird’s 41 Pts
Between the two titan rivals…..Larry Legend and Magic captured eight NBA championships during the 1980’s…..with Johnson getting five and Bird three. During the 1980’s, either Boston or Los Angeles appeared in every NBA Finals. Throughout the 1980’s, contests between the Celtics and the Lakers…..with both during the regular season and in the Finals….and attracted enormous television audiences. The 1st regular-season game between the Celtics and the Lakers in the 1987–88 season proved to be a classic with Magic Johnson banking in an off-balance shot from near the three-point line at the buzzer for a 115–114 Lakers win at Boston Garden. The historical rift between the teams…..which had faced each other several times in championship series of the 1960’s…..was what fueled fan interest in the rivalry in the 1980’s. Not since Bill Russell squared off against Wilt Chamberlain had professional basketball enjoyed such a marquee match-up …..as the apparent contrast between the two players and their respective teams seemed scripted for television…..with Bird being the introverted small-town hero with the blue-collar work ethic…..which fit perfectly with the throwback, hard-nosed style of the Celtics…..while the stylish, gregarious Johnson ran the Lakers’ fast-paced Showtime offense amidst the bright lights and celebrities of Los Angeles. A 1980’s Converse commercial for its “Weapon” line of basketball shoes, endorsed by both Bird and Johnson, reflected the perceived dichotomy between the two players…..when in the commercial, Bird is practicing alone on a rural basketball court….which in reality the court was one Bird had made on the property in French Lick that he had purchased for his mother…..when Johnson pulls up in a sleek limousine and challenges him to a one-on-one match. Despite the intensity of their rivalry, Bird and Johnson became friends off the court…..as their friendship blossomed when the two players worked together to film the Converse commercial…..which depicted them as archenemies. The truth be known, Johnson appeared at Bird’s retirement ceremony on February 4, 1993, and emotionally described Bird as a “friend forever”.
NBA – 2010 – HBO Documentary – “Magic Johnson And Larry Bird: A Courtship of Rivals”
NBA & Talk Shows – 2004 – Late Night With David Letterman – With Magic Johnson + Larry Bird – On When Their Friendship Began
NBA – 2010 – Special – Magic And Bird: “A Rivalry Gives Way To Friendship”
TV Ads & NBA – 1986 – Converse Basketball Shoes With Larry Bird + Magic Johnson
NBA & talk Shows – The Universe Galaxy Presents Magic Johnson – As He Tells About His Great Friendship With Larry Bird – Who He Considers The Smartest Player Ever
NBA – 2009 – ESPN Archive Special – Magic Johnson + Larry Bird Reminisce About Their Rivalry In College And The NBA
NBA – 1993 – Celtics Special – Larry Bird’s Retirement At Boston Garden With Bob Costas + Magic Johnson
NBA – 2012 – Special – “Magic & Bird” – Magic Johnson Gets Emotional Recalling Larry Bird’s Concern When He Contracts HIV
The 1987–1988 season was the highest-scoring season of Bird’s career. In Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks, Bird shot 9 of 10 from the floor in the 4th quarter…..while scoring 20 points in that quarter and lifting the Celtics to a series-clinching victory over Atlanta…..as Bird finished with 34 points…..when his effort helped to overcome a 47-point performance by Atlanta’s Dominique Wilkins. Wilkins remarked, “The basket was like a well. I couldn’t miss. He couldn’t miss. And it went down to the last shot of the game. Who was going to make the last shot? That’s the greatest game I’ve ever played in or seen played.” The Celtics failed to reach the NBA Finals for the 1st time in five years after losing to the Pistons in six games during the Eastern Conference Finals.
NBA – 1988 – Celtics Special – Larry Bird: “Guts And Glory”
NBA – 2021 – All Basketball TV Special – Larry Bird Tells Why Dennis Johnson Was The Best Player He Ever Played With
NBA – 1986 – Special – NBA Greatest Duels: Larry Bird Vs Akeem Olajuwon
Bird’s 1988–89 season ended after six games when he had bone spurs surgically removed from both of his heels. He returned to the Celtics in 1989….but debilitating back problems and an aging Celtic roster prevented him from regaining his mid-1980’s form….but regardless, during the final years of his career, Bird maintained his status as one of the premier players in the game…..when in his final three seasons with the Celtics, Bird averaged over 20 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists per game….while shooting better than 45% from the field…..and still led the Celtics to playoff appearances.
NBA – 2020 – Special – “Making The Case For Larry Bird As Greatest Of All Time”
NBA & Talk Shows – 2018 – Chris Broussard Interviews Kareem Abdule Jabbar – When He Says Larry Bird Was The Best Player He Ever Played Against
After leading the Celtics to a 29–5 start to the 1990–91 season, Bird missed 22 games due to a compressed nerve root in his back….which was a condition that eventually led to his retirement. He had off-season surgery to remove a disc from his back…..but his back problems continued….and he missed 37 games during the 1991–92 season. During the 1992 Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bird missed four of the seven games due to recurring back problems…..so, on August 18, 1992, Bird announced his retirement. Following Bird’s departure, the Celtics promptly retired his jersey # 33.
NBA – 1990 – Game of the Week – 76’ers Vs Celtics – Larry Bird 41 Pts On 71% Shooting
NBA – 1990 – Game of the Week Highlights – Pistons Vs Celtics – Larry Bird 33 Pts / 9 Rebs / 7 Assts While Dominating Dennis Rodman
NBA – 1990 – Game of the Week Highlights – Magic Vs Celtics – Larry Bird 40 Pts / 6 Rebs / 9 Asst
NBA – 1990 – Game of the Week Highlights – Nuggets Vs Celtics – Larry Bird 43 Pts / 8 Rebs / 13 Asst
In the summer of 1992, Bird joined Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and other NBA stars to play for the United States basketball team in that year’s Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. It was the first time in the United States’ Olympic history that the country sent NBA players to compete…..as the “Dream Team” won the men’s basketball gold medal…..and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame called the team “the greatest collection of basketball talent on the planet”.
Olympics & NBA – 1992 – USA Olympic Basketball Documentary – “The Dream Team”
Olympics & NBA – 1992 – Special Film – “The Dream Team” – The Story Of The 1992 USA Olympic Mens Basketball Team
Bird was voted to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996….and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998….then he was inducted into the Hall of Fame again in 2010 as a member of the “Dream Team”. In 1999, Bird ranked # 30 on ESPN SportsCentury’s list of 50 Greatest Athletes of the 20th century…..while having played both the small forward and power forward positions…..and he is universally recognized as an all-time great player, Bird was placed at the power forward position on an NBA all-time starting five roster along with fellow superstars Magic Johnson at point guard, Michael Jordan at shooting guard, LeBron James at small forward and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at center in 2020. Magic Johnson was quoted at Bird’s retirement party saying “Larry, you only told me one lie. You said there will be another Larry Bird. Larry, there will never ever be another Larry Bird”
NBA – 1992 – All Star Game Halftime Presentation – “NBA’s 50 Greatest Players Of All Time”
NBA – 2021 – Special – “NBA Legends and Players Share Their All Time Starting Five Players”
NBA – 1998 – Naismith Basketball Hall Of Fame Induction Speech – Larry Bird
Olympics & NBA – 2010 – Hall Of Fame Induction Speeches – “The Dream Team” – 1992 USA Mens Olympic Basketball Team
NBA – 2019 – NBA Lifetime Achievement Award Presentations – Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
Bird has been described as one of the greatest basketball players and greatest shooters of all time….as he was selected to 12 NBA All-Star teams. Bird won three NBA championships in 1981, 1984 and 1986…..and won two NBA Finals MVP Awards with the Celtics. Bird won three consecutive regular season MVP awards…..and as of 2021, the only other players to accomplish this feat are Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Bird was also a four-time regular season MVP runner-up in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1988. Bird is also remembered as one of the foremost clutch performers in the history of the NBA….and he was known for his excellent play in high-stakes, high-pressure situations.
NBA – 1979 To 1992 – ESPN’s Vintage NBA – “The Larry Bird Story”
NBA – 1980 To 1992 – NBA TV – Larry Bird Special – “Clutch Shots And Buzzer Beaters”
NBA – 2019 – Special – “Here’s Why Larry Bird Is The Most Savage NBA Player Of All Time”
Bird scored 24.3 points per game in his career on a .496 field goal percentage, an .886 free throw percentage and a 37.6 percentage on three-point shots…..while he averaged 10.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game for his career. Bird was the 1st player in NBA history to shoot 50% or better on field goals, 40% on three-pointers and 90% on free-throws in a single NBA season…..while achieving the league minimum for makes in each category….. and he accomplished this feat twice…..plus, Bird won NBA three-point-shooting contests in three consecutive years…..for it is a known fact that he sometimes practiced shooting three-point shots with his eyes closed.
NBA – 1986 Thru 1988 – Special Highlights- Larry Bird’s Legendary 3 Point Contest Champion Three Years In A Row (All Final Rounds)
NBA & Talk Show – 2021 – The Universe Galaxy Interviews James Worthy – On Lakers / Celtics Rivalry + He Explains How Good Larry Bird Was
NBA & Talk Shows – 2002 – Dan LeBatard Radio Show Interview With Kevin McHale – On His Favorite Larry Bird Story
NBA & Talk Show – 2019 – The Dan Patrick Show – With Jazz HOF John Stockton Telling His 3 Favorite Larry Bird Stories
NBA & Talk Shows – 2021 – All Basketball TV Larry Legend Special – With Bill Walton Telling Larry Bird Stories
Bird is also remembered as an excellent passer and defender. While he was relatively slow, Bird displayed a knack for anticipating the moves of his opponent, making him a strong team defender. He had 1,556 career steals. In recognition of his defensive abilities, Bird was named to three All-Defensive 2nd Teams.
NBA – 1980 To 1992 – Larry Bird Special – “50 Amazing Assists”
NBA -1980 To 1992 – Larry Bird Special – “Defensive Impact”
NBA – 1984 – Celtics Special – “Coach Red Auerbach & Larry Bird Teach How To Play Defense”
NBA – 1980 To 1992 – Larry Bird Special – “Compilation Of Passing Highlights”
NBA – 1980 To 1992 – Larry Bird Special – “Top 10 Dunks Of His Career”
Bird was widely considered one of Red Auerbach’s favorite players…..as he considered Bird to be the greatest basketball player of all time. Bird’s humble roots were the source of his most frequently used moniker, “The Hick from French Lick”….while also being referred to as “The Great White Hope” and “Larry Legend”. Bird was well known for his trash-talking on the court. At the 2019 NBA Awards, Bird received the NBA Lifetime Achievement Award….which he shared with Magic Johnson.
NBA – 2011 – All Basketball TV Special – “Red Auerbach Talks About Larry Bird”
NBA – 1986 – Celtics Special – “Shooting Lessons With Larry Bird & Red Auerbach”
NBA – 1987 – Celtics Special – “Red Auerbach + Larry Bird + Dennis Johnson On Free Throw Shooting”
NBA – 1997 – Charlie Rose Live With Coach Red Auerbach – As He Explains A Larry Bird Story Et Al
NBA – 1987 – Celtics Special – “Winning Basketball With Red Auserbach & Larry Bird”
NBA – 2010 – Bill Simmons Interviews Larry Bird – With Bird Telling Story Of Danny Ainge Suggestion To Red Auerbach To Trade Him And Mchale
The Celtics employed Bird as a special assistant in the team’s front office from 1992 until 1997. In 1997, Bird accepted the position of coach of the Indiana Pacers…..while saying he would be on the job for no more than three years…..and despite having no previous coaching experience, Bird led the Pacers to a 58–24 record….which is a franchise’s best as an NBA team at the time during the 1997–98 season….as his team pushed the Chicago Bulls to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. He was named the NBA Coach of the Year for his efforts. Bird then led the Pacers to consecutive Central Division titles in 1999 and 2000 and a berth in the 2000 NBA Finals. Bird resigned his head coaching position shortly after the end of the 2000 season, following through on his initial promise to coach for only three years.
NBA – 1980 To 1992 – Special – “NBA Legends Tell Larry Bird Stories & About His Trash Talking”
NBA – 1980 To 1992 – Celtics Special – “Larry Bird Trash Talking Stories That Will Scare You”
NBA – 1980 To 1992 – Celtics Special – “7 Stories That Prove Larry Bird Was The Greatest Trash Talker Of All Time”
NBA – 2000 – Special Highlights – Larry Bird as a head coach in 2000 Playoffs
In 2003, Bird was hired as the Pacers’ president of basketball operations…. then was named NBA Executive of the Year after the 2011–2012 NBA season ….thus becoming the only man in NBA history to win the NBA MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. On June 27, 2012, a day before the 2012 NBA draft, Bird and the Pacers announced that they would be parting ways ….. as Bird said that health issues were among the reasons for his departure. Bird returned to the Pacers as president of basketball operations in 2013…. and stepped down again in 2017…..but stayed with the team in an advisory capacity.
NBA – 2019 – Basketball Time Machine Presents – “Larry Bird’s 8 Most Arrogant Moments”
Awards and honors, as a player were as follows: 3× NBA champion in 1981, 1984 & 1986…..2× NBA Finals MVP in 1984 & 1986…..3× NBA Most Valuable Player in 1984, 1985 & 1986…..12× NBA All-Star from 1980–1988 & 1990–1992….NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1982….9× All-NBA 1st Team from 1980 to 1988….All-NBA 2nd Team in 1990…..3× NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team from 1982–1984…..NBA Rookie of the Year in 1980…..NBA All-Rookie 1st Team in 1980….3× Three-point Shootout champion from 1986–1988…..NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team….# 33 retired by Boston Celtics….the John R. Wooden Award in 1979…..the Naismith College Player of the Year in 1979….. the AP National Player of the Year in 1979…..the Oscar Robertson Trophy in 1979….the Adolph Rupp Trophy in 1979…..the NABC Player of the Year in 1979….2 × MVC Player of the Year in 1978 & 1979…..2× Consensus 1st Team All-American in 1978 & 1979…..while as a coach, the NBA All-Star Game head coach in 1998…..NBA Coach of the Year 1998….and as an executive…… NBA Executive of the Year in 2012.
NBA – 1980 To 1992 – Celtics Special – “Larry Bird’s 50 Greatest Moments”
NBA – 1980 To 1992 – Celtics Special – “5 Times Larry Bird Sought Revenge”
In popular culture, Bird has appeared in three movies, each time playing himself…..in Blue Chips with Nick Nolte, released in 1994 by Paramount…..in the Warner Brothers film Space Jam with Michael Jordan and Bill Murray in 1996…..and Celtic Pride with Dan Aykroyd, Daniel Stern, and Damon Wayans, which was also released in 1996. Bird’s likeness has appeared in several video games such as One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird…..where he Bird plays opposite Julius Erving in a game of one-on-one…..along with a sequel, Jordan vs Bird: One on One….which was a 1988 basketball video game. In 2011, Bird was featured on the cover of NBA 2K12, alongside Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Larry Legend is also a playable character in the revamped NBA Jam. The band Dispatch has a song called “Just Like Larry” about The Hick from French Lick…..who is their hometown hero from his days as a member of the Boston Celtics. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson wrote a book together with Jackie MacMullan titled When The Game Was Ours. In a commercial during Super Bowl XLIV, Dwight Howard and LeBron James challenge each other at trick shots for a McDonald’s lunch…..when after they finish, clapping is heard, then the camera pans to the crowd and Bird says “Great show, guys. Thanks for lunch.”…..as Howard and James share a confused look…..and Howard asks, “Who was that?”…..James replies, “I have no idea.”…..as this refers to a McDonald’s commercial from 1991 in which Bird and Michael Jordan have a trick shot contest…..in which the winner got the lunch and the loser had to watch the winner eat. In October 2005, a man in Oklahoma City, Eric James Torpy, was convicted of shooting with intent to kill and robbery…..and he asked that his sentence be changed from 30 years’ imprisonment to 33…..so that it would match Bird’s jersey number…..and his request was granted. Twitter’s logo is named Larry in honor of Larry Bird. One of the lead characters in the television series The Neighbors is an alien named Larry Bird, played by Simon Templeman.
Basketball & Movie – 1994 – Movie Clip From “Blue Chips” – With Larry Bird + Nick Nolte
Movie & NBA – 1996 – Movie Clip From “Celtic Pride” – With Dan Aykroyd + Daniel Stern + Damon Wayons + Larry Bird
Movie & NBA – 1996 – Movie Clip From “Space Jam” – With Bill Murray + Michael Jordan + Larry Bird
Music – 2000 – Dispatch – “Just Like Larry” – About The Hick From French Lick
Comedy & Basketball – 2015 – The Kroll Show – “The Legend Of Young Larry Bird”
TV Ads & NBA – 2010 – McDonald’s Commercial W/ LeBron James + Dwight Howard + Larry Bird – “Who Was That!?!”
From a personal standpoint, in 1975, Bird married Janet Condra….as they remained married for less than a year……when following an attempted reconciliation, Bird and Condra had a daughter, Corrie, in 1977…..then Bird married Dinah Mattingly in 1989…..and they have two adopted children, Conner and Mariah.
NBA – 1979 To 1992 – ESPN’s SportsCentury 50 Greatest Athletes Special – Featuring # 30 Larry Bird
NBA – 1980 To 1992 – Celtics Special – “The Ultimate Larry Bird Tribute”
As I come to a completion of this story about a truly amazing basketball player…..I have to admit that Bone Daddy has been a lifelong Boston Celtics fans who has a deep love and admiration for Bill Russell….as he considers Russ to be the greatest NBA player of all time…..cuz he judges greatness by the number of “championship rings” that a player has won…..so, every time that he hears someone comment that Michael Jordan was the GOAT….he simply says….“NO WAY, 11 rings to 6!!!!” Bone Daddy also holds Celtics greats Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohm, John Havlicek in as high esteem as he does Larry Legend…..albeit, for him it is like “splitting hairs” when it comes to those four Celtic great…..after Russelll of course…..but regardless, The Hick from French Lick” was as good as it gets when it comes to talents on the basketball court…..cuz Larry Legend could do it all…..dribble, dish out assists, shoot, rebound and play defense as good as anyone….which made him one of basketball’s few 5-tool players to ever play the game. At the end of the day, we are honored here at ImaSportsphile to showcase the talents of Larry Bird with this story and these incredible videos.
NBA – 1980 – Celtics Documentary – “Larry Bird: The Baddest Man Ever To Shoot A Basketball”