Larry Joe Bird is a legendary basketball player from the United States who played for the ‘Boston Celtics’ of the National Basketball Association. He is a legend in the NBA, with numerous records and impressive career statistics. It’s no surprise that he’s called ‘Larry Legend.’ Larry is one of the most well-known NBA players of all time, with a long list of accomplishments. He has been named NBA Most Valuable Player five times and has won three NBA tournaments. Larry is recognized as the deadliest shooter, master intimidator, and outstanding scorer of all time, with 12 NBA All-Star appearances and nine All-NBA First Team awards. He continued to have a great career after retirement, winning honors for Best Coach and NBA Executive of the Year. While his tremendous self-esteem has enabled him to accomplish many great things on the court, it has also tarnished him in certain ways, since he is known for being a major trash talker.
Childhood and Adolescence
Larry Bird was born in West Baden Springs, Indiana, on December 7, 1956. He was raised in this village, which is close to the town of French Lick. Larry’s father, Claude Joseph ‘Joe’ Bird, traveled to French Lick in search of work after his family collapsed. Georgia, Larry’s mother, was fighting to raise him and his five siblings back in the hamlet.
Mike, Mark, Jeff, and Eddie were his three brothers, while Linda was his sister. Georgia was able to make ends meet by working at two different businesses.
Larry was always interested in sports and participated in a variety of them. By the time he got to high school, he was solely focused on basketball. He finally discovered that he could succeed at basketball one day and began practicing diligently to hone his talents.
His parents were going through a difficult time at the time, and they had separated. Larry was damaged by their divorce, and he abandoned his family. This gave him the ideal opportunity to devote his entire life to basketball.
Larry joined the basketball team at Springs Valley High School. He then established himself as a crucial member of the team. His skills and dedication quickly made him the main player, averaging 31 points and 21 rebounds each game. Larry continued to hone his skills during his college years, which is when his basketball career began.
Career of Larry Bird
Larry’s outstanding achievements as a member of his high school team drew the notice of Indiana University, who offered him a scholarship and the chance to play for their team under the guidance of then-top mentor Bob Knight.
Larry accepted the opportunity, but he wasn’t able to make the most of it. He struggled to fit in with the other pupils and eventually dropped out. He returned to French Lick and enrolled at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was a member of the ‘Sycamores’ team and contributed significantly to the team’s extraordinary success.
The team made its first appearance in the NCAA tournament under his direction. Larry’s career was shaped in large part by the competition. Despite the fact that he did not win the championship, Larry was named player of the year for his outstanding effort.
Larry met his longstanding professional opponent, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, at the tournament.
Larry’s big break came in 1978, when he was selected to play with the ‘Boston Celtics.’ Larry, on the other hand, turned down the offer and chose to play his final season for Indiana State. He stayed with the ‘Sycamores’ and helped them to the NCAA championship game.
He subsequently got into a contract dispute with the then-coach of the ‘Sycamores,’ Arnold Jacob “Red” Auerbach. Larry declined the offered sum since he desired a hike. The controversy was eventually addressed, and Larry signed the contract a year later after reaching an agreement on a negotiated value of $3.25 million dollars, which was the highest figure at the time.
The NBA selection committee underwent a significant shift as a result of this contract. Following that, a new rule known as the ‘Bird Collegiate Rule’ became necessary for all new players.
Larry was named to the All-Star Squad and awarded Rookie of the Year after leading the team to new heights. With averages of 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.7 steals per game, he helped the squad progress by winning 32 games in total.
The club finally won the championship after a series of losses, defeating the ‘Houston Rockets’ in the finals. Larry won the All-Star Game MVP Award and was runner-up for the Most Valuable Player Award in 1982 with a score of 19 points. Larry then experienced a brief period of decline, but it did not last long. The squad won five Conference Finals after dropping seven games in the previous round. Larry set a record with 60 points in a game in 1984 and 1985, earning him the MVP title for the second year in a row.
Larry’s career took a turn for the worse once more. In 1987, he was unable to prevent his club from losing six consecutive games to the ‘Lakers,’ and the squad subsequently lost the Eastern Conference Finals.
Despite his outstanding numbers, Larry was unable to reach the NBA finals that year. For a long time, he was unable to play due to a heel ailment. He made a return in 1989, but his health failed him once more.
Larry was a member of the United States basketball team that won a gold medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Larry announced his retirement on August 18, 1992.
After the Retirement
Larry had a great post-retirement career after a glorious career as an NBA player. He worked as a special assistant in the team’s front office from 1992 to 1997. After that, he got a three-year contract with the ‘Indiana Pacers’ as a coach.
The team went on to set a new record with a 58-24 victory under his leadership. He was named NBA Coach of the Year, and as a result, Larry made NBA history by being the only coach to win both the MVP and Coach of the Year awards. The squad did remarkably well under his guidance, winning back-to-back Central Division titles in 1999 and 2000.
He was named president of basketball operations for the ‘Pacers’ in 2003. After that, he was named NBA Executive of the Year. Larry left the NBA operation on May 1, 2017, and began serving as an advisor.
Controversies of Larry Bird
Larry has had his share of controversies in addition to having a successful career. On numerous instances, he was seen on the floor getting into verbal spats with opposing players and coaches. He’s also been accused of continuously criticizing others and using foul language on the floor. During a game, he got into a verbal battle with the ‘Chicago Bulls’ coach, Doug Collins, which made news. Larry had a total of 41 points throughout the game.
Personal Experiences of Larry Bird
Larry had a difficult upbringing. His parents’ divorce had such an impact on him that he decided to leave his home. To supplement his income, he took on a variety of odd jobs. In French Lick, Larry also worked as a garbage truck driver.
Janet Condra, his high school sweetheart, with whom he has a daughter named Corrie, he had a short-lived marriage. His father committed suicide a year after the divorce. Larry married Dinah Mattingly in 1989 and had two children, Conner and Mariah.
Estimated Net Worth
Larry Bird has a net worth of $75 million.