One of all time greatest, most popular and iconic players in all of NBA history, Larry Bird, celebrated his 60th birthday this past Wednesday.
Larry Bird, who spent all of his career with the Boston Celtics, will be remembered as a player who has had huge influence on the development of the game.
“The Hick from French Lick”, as he was referred to, was actually born in West Baden Springs, in the state of Indiana. But he spent his early years in French Lick, where his mother used to work double shifts, in order to feed Larry, his four brothers and one sister.
During high school, Larry Bird encountered many familial problems. His mother and father divorced, and later his father committed suicide. He often recalls his childhood and he always likes to say that, circumstances around him were always motivating him and pushing him forward, and that has made him tougher.
Larry Bird played for Springs Valley High School and, as a senior, he was averaging 31 points, 21 rebounds and four assists per game.
In college, he played for the Indiana Hoosiers, but eventually he dropped out. A year later he bounced back in, but this time he went to play for Indiana State University.
He brought them to the NCAA finals in 1979, where they clashed with Michigan State University and their leading star, his future opponent and great friend, Earvin “Magic” Johnson. They lost in that final, but Larry Bird was awarded National College Player of the Year. During his college career, he averaged 30.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
He played 13 years in the NBA, and all of them for the Boston Celtics. He was drafted 6th overall by the Celtics in 1978, but he wasn’t signed immediately. He returned to college to play one more year.
When he signed his first professional contract, he was the highest paid rookie ever.
He’s established in his generation as one of the best in history.
With the Boston Celtics, Larry Bird won three NBA titles (1981, 1984, 1986) and was named NBA Finals MVP twice in 84, 86.
He was named Most Valuable Player in the league three times in a row, from 84-86 and he is one of three players in history that have achieved this feat. The other two are Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.
He was an NBA All-Star 12 times, 9 times all-NBA first team and all of them consecutive.
Larry Bird was one of the finest shooters in NBA history. He was twice in the 50-40-90 Club, and his trademark was 3-point shots. He won the NBA 3-point shooting contest three times.
Larry Bird was not just a good player, he was also an excellent head coach. While he coached for the Indiana Pacers, he won NBA Coach of the Year award.
In 2012, he won the NBA Executive of the Year Award and he is the only person who has won NBA Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year award.
He was also named the biggest trash talkers of all the time, but we will remember him as one of the greatest players instead.