Larry Bird: The Legendary Sharpshooter of the Boston Celtics

Larry Bird propelled the Boston Celtics dynasty of the 1980s with his versatile scoring skills and competitive fire. His prowess is cemented in the NBA record books.

Early Life and College Basketball

Larry Joe Bird was born in 1956 in West Baden, Indiana and attended Springs Valley High School.  Bird led Spring Valley High School to the state championship game in his senior year. The Hawks lost the championship game, but Bird had a great season. He averaged 31.1 points, 21.2 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game.   Larry then played college basketball locally at Indiana State University.

High School Legend

Indiana University

Larry Bird began his college career at Indiana University in 1974. He was a highly touted recruit, and he was expected to be a star for the Hoosiers. However, Bird struggled to adjust to life at Indiana University. He missed his hometown of French Lick, Indiana, and he didn’t like the big-city atmosphere of Bloomington, Indiana.

Bird also had difficulty adjusting to the coaching style of Indiana coach Bob Knight. Knight was a demanding coach, and he was known for his temper. Bird didn’t like Knight’s yelling, and he felt like he was being micromanaged.

After one semester at Indiana University, Bird decided to drop out of school. He returned to French Lick and worked as a garbage collector.

Indiana State University

A year later, Bird decided to give college another try. He enrolled at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. Indiana State was a smaller school than Indiana University, and it was closer to Bird’s hometown.

Bird thrived at Indiana State. He was the leading scorer and rebounder for the Sycamores for three seasons. He also led Indiana State to the NCAA Tournament in all three seasons.

In 1979, Bird led Indiana State to the NCAA Final Four. The Sycamores lost to Magic Johnson and Michigan State in the championship game, but Bird had a great tournament. He averaged 28.3 points and 16.7 rebounds per game in the NCAA Tournament.

Larry Bird

Celtics Stardom and Rivalry With Magic

The Boston Celtics selected Bird 6th overall in the 1978 NBA draft. He immediately became a franchise pillar, winning Rookie of the Year while leading the NBA in rebounds and steals.

Bird went on to win three straight league MVP awards and three titles throughout the 1980s with Boston. His rivalry with Magic Johnson also defined the decade. Bird made 10 consecutive All-Star teams.

Larry Bird

Brilliant Career With Boston

In 13 seasons, all with Boston, Bird averaged 24.3 points, 10 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. He shot 37.6% from three-point range and 88.6% from the free throw line with textbook form.

Bird’s competitive drive and clutch shooting cemented his legacy. His No. 33 jersey was retired by Boston in 1993 after injuries cut short his career.

Larry Bird

Post-NBA Accomplishments

After retiring, Bird served as head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000, earning Coach of the Year in 1998. He also excelled in front office roles, building a contender as president of the Pacers.

Now 66 years old, Bird defined basketball excellence through his two-way skills, intensity, andrepeated success. He remains a Boston sports icon regarded among the all-time greats.

2023 Update on Larry Legend

This past November, Bird made headlines joining Twitter for the first time. Though not active on social media, he remains involved with the Pacers franchise and NBA Alumni association.

In 2023, Bird’s legend lives on through the NBA record books and memories of his epic rivalry with Magic. Over 35 years after his final game, Larry Legend remains beloved in Boston.

Hometown Athletes

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Whalen High School

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