Larry Joe Bird (born December 7, 1956) is a former American NBA basketball player and coach. Drafted into the NBA sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in 1978, Bird started at small forward and power forward for thirteen seasons, spearheading one of the NBA's most formidable frontcourts that included center Robert Parish and forward Kevin McHale.
In an era where the individual game reigned, Bird was a team player and often showed it, as he was seen diving for loose balls and sometimes landing in the crowd. He epitomized hustle, team play, and grit and was appreciated by those he played with and against. More known for his deadly passing and ability to make every other player around him better, Bird could break a team down with his accurate shooting and decision-making.
I found that I could still shoot free throws while I was propped up on my crutches and I turned my attention to working on my passing, which I found was possible if I hobbled around on my cast. As it turned out, I discovered from this adversity that I loved to pass! I thought passing was it -- and I still do. I like to see the gleam in my teammate's eyes as he runs back down the court after scoring off one of my passes.
Through the late 80's and early 90's, Bird was hampered by back injuries which eventually led to him retiring from basketball in 1992. Before retiring, Bird teamed up with fellow NBA superstars Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan to form the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. This was the first time the United States sent professional basketball players to compete in the Olympics.
Boston won three championships during Bird's tenure and played in the NBA Finals five times. Bird was the Rookie of the Year in 1980; the league's Most Valuable Player in 1984, 1985, and 1986; and a nine-time member of the All-NBA first team. His career averages: 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists.
When Larry Joe Bird fell off the turnip truck and into the lap of the Boston Celtics, a new era began in professional basketball. When Bird arrived in the NBA in 1979, attendance was down and fan interest was close to nil. By the time he retired in 1992, NBA arenas were sold out routinely and the game's popularity was at an all-time high.
Not only was he named the NBA's executive of the year Wednesday, he becomes the first to win that award as well as having been named coach of the year (in 1998, with the Pacers) and MVP (1984-86 with the Boston Celtics) as a player.
Larry Bird was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the sixth overall pick in the 1978 draft. The Celtics gave Bird a contract worth $3.25 million over five years. Bird's new contract made the highest paid rookie in the history of team sports at that time.
In high school, Bird was a star player and left his high school as its all time scorer. He attended Indiana University in 1976 on a basketball scholarship (a school with one of the best college basketball programs in the nation), but left the school, homesick, after only a month. He attended community college for a brief stint, then enrolled in Indiana State University, leading his basketball team to the NCAA Championships in 1979 (his senior year).
Things were anything but easy for Bird growing up as his family never had much money. Bird's father, Joe, was an alcoholic which made things even more difficult. His parents eventually divorced when Larry went off to college, and his father committed suicide soon after.
You know that blue Twitter bird that’s always popping up these days? Well, the little guy’s got a name. It’s Larry. Larry the Bird. As in, Larry Bird, the Hall of Fame basketball player.