Larry Bird has been known for several visual things fans at home could pick up – his playing style, his physique, his appearance – but part of what made him so unique was his persona.
The Hick from French Lick is one of the greatest trash talkers of all time, and he did it like no one else. From telling the opposing team what play his team would run to get him a look to win the game that he would, of course, casually sink to forewarning the Portland Trail Blazers he would face them using only his left hand for three quarters, then do so with fantastic results, Bird was one of a kind.
In a roughly 25-minute video on YouTube, user Direct To The People compiled clips of stories about Bird that help paint the full picture of who he was as a teammate, who he was as an opponent and who he was as an all-around basketball player.
If you’re a fan of Bird, extremely high-level basketball, hysterical antics only the most confident people can pull off or any combination, you will want to hit play. You will be treated to some of Bird’s most miraculous plays with plenty of humorous commentary from the man himself and others who played with or against him spliced in between.
The middle of the video focuses largely on showing some of Bird’s greatest moments, especially game-winning plays.
“You know, if the game is close and they got the ball or you don’t have no cushion in terms of the lead, Larry Bird will win the game,” former Lakers great Magic Johnson said in the video.
His toughness is also a constant theme.
“You can never back down,” Bird said. “Once you do, people look at you different. You had to stand up for everything you believed in, even if it’s playing basketball. If somebody took the gloves off and wanted to go, you had to go. If you didn’t, there’s no use playing.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a common foe for Bird, has had great praise for his former nemesis on how he played the game.
“He wore us out,” Abdul-Jabbar said after naming Bird the most difficult player he ever faced. “This muscle here, the one between his ears, that was his best. He made the three pointers and he had assists, rebounding, steals. He was always at the right place at the right time on the court. One of the great players I had the opportunity to play against.”
The Spin on Larry Bird
Bird was born in West Baden Springs, Indiana, and went to high school in French Lick, Indiana, hence his popular nickname. He attended Indiana State and played there from 1976-79, leading the Sycamores to the 1979 National Championship Game against Magic Johnson and Michigan State in one of the most famous basketball showdowns of all time.
The Boston Celtics picked Bird in the first round of the 1978 NBA Draft with the No. 6 overall selection. He played for the C’s from 1979-92, winning three NBA titles (1981, 1984, 1986), three MVP awards (1984-86), and appearing in 12 All-Star Games (1980-88, 1990-92). He averaged at least 19 points per contest in all 13 of his professional seasons, breaking the 25 mark in four of those years. His 21,791 career points are 34th-most in NBA history.