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Larry Bird

From Academic Kids

Larry Joe Bird (born December 7, 1956) is a former NBA basketball player.
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Larry Legend

Considered one of the best players of all time, Bird, along with colleagues Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, revolutionized the game during the 1980s. Drafted sixth overall by the Boston Celtics, he played small forward for the team for his entire 12-year career. His nicknames include "Larry Legend", "The Basketball Jesus", "Big Bird" and "Tarzan".

Contents

Early life

Bird, born in West Baden Springs, Indiana at Bedford Medical Center, grew up in the adjacent town of French Lick, and was a star high school player at Springs Valley High School. He had two sisters, Elizabeth and Beatrice. He originally enrolled at Indiana University in 1975, but left before the team's first game. Also that year, his father commited suicide with a shotgun. Bird eventually ended up at Indiana State University. He led the ISU Sycamores to the NCAA championship game in 1979, only to lose to the Michigan State University Spartans, led by Magic Johnson. Twenty-five years later, the 1979 NCAA championship game between Michigan State and Indiana State is still the most watched college basketball game ever. Bird won the Naismith and Wooden Awards, given to the year's top male college basketball player.

NBA career

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Bird on a cover of TIME with Wayne Gretzky

Bird, a 6' 9" (206 cm) forward, who wears a 13 and a half shoe size, was prolific at virtually all aspects of the game. He was one of the league's most accurate shooters, usually finishing among the top 3-point shooters as well as among the top free-throw shooters. He won the All-Star Game's 3-point competition three times. His career average was 24.3 points per game, with a high of 29.9 points per game in the 1987-88 season.

Despite his relative lack of athleticism compared to most elite basketball players, he excelled at other aspects of the game. He was a great positional rebounder, averaging 10.0 rebounds. He was also known as an excellent passer, averaging 6.4 assists, high for a forward. He was even a strong defensive player, making the All-Defensive Second team three times and ending his career eighth overall in total steals. Larry had a career-high 60 points in a regular season game against Dominique Wilkins and the Atlanta Hawks in 1985.

Bird was a three-time league MVP, a 12 time All-Star, and All-Star Game MVP in 1982. He won three NBA titles: in 1981, 1984, and 1986.

The Larry Bird Rule

When the NBA imposed a salary cap, a special provision was made allowing teams to exceed it in order to retain a player already on the roster which became known as the great "Larry Bird Rule".

Later years

Bird announced his retirement on August 18, 1992, after helping win the Olympic gold medal in Barcelona, where he was part of the Dream Team. Bird retired largely because of chronic back problems that had been bothering him for years. Other injuries had plagued him his last few years, especially a foot injury that forced him to miss nearly the entire 1988-89 season.

After retiring, Bird was admitted to the Basketball Hall of Fame. His jersey number, 33, was retired by the Celtics. He was also named to the NBA's "50 Greatest Players" list, in 1996. The Celtic frontcourt (center and two forwards) of Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and Bird may have been the best in NBA history.

He began a new basketball career as the coach of the Indiana Pacers at the start of the 1997-1998 season, and he was named the NBA Coach of the Year for that season. He led the team to three straight Eastern Conference finals appearances and one trip to the NBA Finals in 2000.

He stepped down as Pacers coach shortly after the end of the 2000 season. He pushed for the hiring of his assistant and friend Rick Carlisle as his replacement, but the job eventually went to Isiah Thomas.

In 2003, he returned to the Pacers as President of Basketball Operations. One of his first moves in his new capacity was to fire Thomas and hire Carlisle to coach the team.

In 2004, Larry came under fire for somewhat controversial comments in regards to the NBA's lack of white stars. Bird was asked if he believed the league would regain its previous level of success in terms of popularity if there were more white superstars. Bird replied that he did, and that basketball was "a black man's game". Comments similar to this in the past, such as those from Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder, drew much more heat from critics. Many believe that Larry got away with such statements due to his high standing in the sports world, although it should be noted that The Greek's were far more extreme.

External links

1992 Olympic Champions Men's Basketball – "Dream Team"
Charles Barkley | Larry Bird | Clyde Drexler | Patrick Ewing | Magic Johnson | Michael Jordan | Christian Laettner | Karl Malone | Chris Mullin | Scottie Pippen | David Robinson | John Stockton
Coach Chuck Daly

Template:Naismith Award Winners Men Template:Wooden Award Winners Mende:Larry Bird es:Larry Bird fr:Larry Bird it:Larry Bird ja:ラリー・バード zh:拉里伯得

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