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Larry Joe Bird (born December 7, 1956) is a retired American NBA basketball player, widely considered as one of the best players of all time, and one of the top clutch performers in the history of sports. Drafted into the NBA sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in 1978, Bird started at small forward and power forward power forward for thirteen seasons, teaming with legendary center Robert Parish and forward Kevin McHale. Due to back problems, he retired as a player from the NBA in 1992. Bird was voted to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1998. He served as head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000. In 2003, he assumed the role of president of basketball operations for the Pacers, which he currently still holds.
Larry Bird was born in West Baden Springs, Indiana, the son of Georgia Kerns and Claude Joseph "Joe" Bird. He grew up in both West Baden and the adjacent town French Lick, which earned him the nickname "the Hick from French Lick" in his later basketball career. Financial troubles would plague the Bird family for most of Larry's childhood. In a 1988 interview with Sports Illustrated, Bird recalled how his mother would make do on the family's meager earnings: "If there was a payment to the bank due, and we needed shoes, she'd get the shoes, and then deal with them guys at the bank. I don't mean she wouldn't pay the bank, but the children always came first." Bird sometimes was sent to live with his grandmother due to the family's struggles. Bird told Sports Illustrated that being poor as a child "motivates me to this day." Bird would always be in gym early, shoot in between classes, and then stay late into the evening. He quit both football and baseball to focus on the sport he loved, basketball.
Bird received a basketball scholarship to Indiana University in 1974. However, he was overwhelmed by the size of the campus and number of students and, as he would later admit in his biographies, wasn't mentally ready for this stage of life. Bird was also treated poorly by an established IU star, Kent Benson; as Bird recalled, the other upperclassmen of the team treated him well. He dropped out of Indiana and went home to French Lick where he enrolled in the nearby Northwood Institute before dropping out and getting a job with the Street Department (the department did pick up garbage once a week, but also repaired roads, removed snow, mowed lawns, etc.) for a year. He played AAU basketball for Hancock Construction and, after that year, decided to enroll Indiana State University, where he was coached by Bob King.
King suffered a stroke prior to the 1978-79 season and assistant Bill Hodges was promoted to head coach. Hodges had been scouting Bird and really wanted him to play for ISU. Bird led the Sycamores to the NCAA championship game in 1979, his senior season, only to lose to the Michigan State University Spartans, who were led by his future NBA rival, Magic Johnson. The Sycamores finished the season 33-1. That year, Bird won the USBWA College Player of the Year, Naismith and [Wooden Awards, given to the year's top male college basketball player. After his three seasons at Indiana State, he left as the fifth-highest scorer in NCAA history. Bird finished his collegiate career with an average of 30.3 points per game. He is on the Missouri Valley Conference All-Century Team.
1979-1981: Immediate impactEdit
The Boston Celtics selected the 6'9", 220-pound Bird 6th overall in the 1978 NBA Draft, even though they were uncertain whether he would enter the NBA or remain at Indiana State to play his senior season. Bird ultimately decided to play his final college season, but the Celtics retained their exclusive right to sign him until the 1979 NBA Draft, because of the NBA's "junior eligible" rule that existed at that time (allowing a collegiate player to be drafted when the player's original "entering" class was graduating and giving them one calendar year to sign them, even if they went back to college). Shortly before that deadline, Bird agreed to sign with the Celtics for a US $650,000 a year contract, making him at the time the highest-paid rookie in the history of the NBA. Shortly afterward, the NBA draft eligibility rules were changed to prevent teams from drafting players before they were ready to sign. The rule is called the Bird Collegiate Rule.
Larry Bird's impact on the Celtics was immediate. The Celtics were 29-53 during the 1978–79 season, but with Bird the team improved to 61-21 in the 1979–80 season, posting the league's best regular season record. Bird's collegiate rival, Magic Johnson, also had entered the NBA in 1979, joining the Los Angeles Lakers. In 1980, despite a strong rookie season from Johnson, Bird was named the league's Rookie of the Year and was voted onto the Eastern Conference All-Star team (an honor he would receive for each of his 12 full seasons in the NBA). For the 1980 season, Bird led the Celtics in scoring (21.3 points/game), rebounding (10.4 rebounds/game), steals (143), and minutes played (2,955) and was second in assists (4.5 assists/game) and three-pointers (58). Though Boston was beaten by the more athletic Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference finals that year, Bird's addition to the team had renewed the promise of Celtic glory.
Following Bird's first season, the Celtics acquired center Robert Parish and the 3rd pick in the 1980 NBA Draft via a trade with the Golden State Warriors (in exchange for the 1st and 13th picks in the draft). After the Warriors took Joe Barry Carroll with the 1st pick and the Utah Jazz chose Darrell Griffith second, the Celtics selected University of Minnesota power forward Kevin McHale. With Bird at small forward, the additions of Parish and McHale gave Boston one of the most formidable frontcourts in the history of the NBA. The three would anchor the Celtics throughout Bird's career.
In his second season, Bird led the Celtics into the playoffs, where they faced off for a second consecutive year with Julius Erving's Philadelphia 76ers. Bird helped the Celtics overcome a 3–1 deficit by winning the last 3 games by 2, 2, and 1 point margins, propelling them into the NBA Finals, where they defeated the Houston Rockets in six games. It would be the first of three championships in Bird's career, as well as the first of his five Finals appearances.
1982–1987: MVPs, championships and the rivalry Edit
The additions of Bird and Johnson rejuvenated the NBA, which had suffered from low attendance and minimal television interest through much of the 1970s. Immediately upon their entry into the league, the two players became repeating presences in the NBA Finals. Johnson's Lakers won the championship in 1980, Bird's Celtics captured the NBA title in 1981, and Johnson's Lakers wrested it back in 1982. Bird and Johnson first dueled in the 1979 NCAA title game; as professional basketball players, they would face off numerous times during the 1980s, including the NBA Finals of 1984, 1985 and 1987. Lakers versus Celtics, and specifically Bird versus Magic, quickly became one of the greatest rivalries in the history of professional sports.
In 1984, the Celtics defeated the Lakers in a seven-game Finals, winning game seven 111–102. Bird averaged 27 points and 14 rebounds a game during the series, earning the award of Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP). Bird was also named the league regular season MVP for that year. In 1985, however, the Lakers avenged the loss, defeating the Celtics in game 6 of the Finals in the Boston Garden. That year, the NBA again named Bird the league MVP.
Boston would have another great season the next year, with help from another Hall of Famer, Bill Walton. Walton had been refused by the Lakers, and as a last chance, called Celtics president and general manager Red Auerbach. Auerbach was initially unwilling to take a risk on Walton, who had been plagued for years by foot injuries. But Bird, who happened to be in Auerbach's office at the time of Walton's call, urged him to sign Walton, saying that if Walton felt he was healthy enough to play, it was all Bird needed to hear.
With Walton backing up Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, the Celtics would return to the finals in 1986, albeit not against Johnson and the Lakers, who lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Houston Rockets. The 1986 Celtic team, which finished the regular season 67–15 and defeated the Rockets in six games, is generally considered to be the best of Bird's career. Bird again was named the Finals' MVP for that year, averaging 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists per game for the series. He also won his third consecutive league MVP award, a feat matched only by the great Celtic center Bill Russell and the dominant Wilt Chamberlain, who played for Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
In 1987, the Celtics made their last Finals appearance of Bird's career, fighting through difficult series against the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons but as they reached the NBA Finals, the Celtics, plagued by devastating injuries, lost to a dominant Lakers team which had won 65 games during the season. The Celtics ended up losing to the Lakers in six games. The Celtics would fall short in 1988 losing to the Pistons in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals as the Pistons made up from the heartbreak the previous season. Between them, Bird and Johnson captured eight NBA championships during the 1980s, with Magic getting five and Bird three. During the 1980s, either Boston or Los Angeles appeared in every NBA Finals.
Throughout the 1980s, contests between the Celtics and the Lakers—both during the regular season and in the Finals—attracted enormous television audiences. The first regular season game between the Celtics and the Lakers in the 1987-88 season proved to be a classic with Magic Johnson banking in an off balance shot from near the 3-point line at the buzzer for a 115-114 Lakers win at Boston Garden. The historical rift between the teams, which faced each other several times in championship series of the 1960s, fueled fan interest in the rivalry. Not since Russell squared off against Chamberlain had professional basketball enjoyed such a marquee matchup. The apparent contrast between the two players and their respective teams seemed scripted for television: Bird, the introverted small-town hero with the blue-collar work ethic, fitted perfectly with the throwback, hard-nosed style of the Celtics, while the stylish, gregarious Johnson ran the Lakers' fast-paced "Showtime" offense amidst the bright lights and celebrities of Los Angeles. A 1986 Converse commercial for its "Weapon" line of basketball shoes (endorsed by both Bird and Johnson) reflected the perceived dichotomy between the two players. In the commercial, Bird is practicing alone on a rural basketball court when Johnson pulls up in a sleek limousine and challenges him to a one-on-one match.
Despite the intensity of their rivalry, Bird and Johnson became friends off the court. Their friendship blossomed when the two players worked together to film the 1986 Converse commercial, which depicted them as archenemies. Johnson appeared at Bird's retirement ceremony on February 4, 1993 and emotionally described Bird as a "friend forever."
1988–1992: The twilight years Edit
In 1988, Bird had the best statistical season of his career, but the Celtics failed to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in four years, losing to the Pistons in six games during the Eastern Conference Finals. Bird started the 1988–89 season with Boston, but ended his season after six games to have bone spurs surgically removed from both of his heels. He returned to the Celtics in 1989, but debilitating back problems and an aging Celtic roster prevented him from regaining his mid-1980s form. Nonetheless, through the final years of his career, Bird maintained his status as one of the premier players in the game. He averaged over 20 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists a game in his last three seasons with the Celtics, and shot better than 45% from the field in each. Bird led the Celtics to playoff appearances in each of those three seasons.
Bird's body, however, continued to break down. He had been bothered by back problems for years, and his back became progressively worse. After leading the Celtics to a 29-5 start to the 1990-91 season, he missed 22 games due to a compressed nerve root in his back, a condition that would eventually lead to his retirement. He had off-season surgery to remove a disc from his back, but his back problems continued and he missed 37 games during the 1991–92 season. During the 1992 Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers Bird missed 4 of 7 games in the series due to his back problems.
In the summer of 1992, Bird joined Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and other NBA stars to play for the United States basketball team in that year's Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. It was the first time in America's Olympic history that the country sent professional basketball players to compete. The "Dream Team" won the men's basketball gold medal.
Following his Olympic experience, on August 18, 1992, Bird announced his retirement as an NBA player. He finished his career with averages of more than 24 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists per game, while shooting 49.6% from the field, 88.6% from the free throw line and 37.6% from three-point range. Following Bird's departure, the Celtics promptly retired his jersey number "33".
NBA career after retirement Edit
The Celtics employed Bird as a special assistant in the team's front office from 1992 until 1997. In 1997, Bird accepted the position of coach of the Indiana Pacers. Despite having no previous coaching experience, Bird led the Pacers to an Eastern Conference championship in 2000 and two Eastern Conference runner-up finishes the previous two seasons. He was named the NBA Coach of the Year for the 1998 season.
Bird resigned as Pacers coach shortly after the end of the 2000 season. In 2003, he returned as the Pacers' President of Basketball Operations, where he oversees team personnel and coaching moves, as well as the team's draft selections.
Coaching record Edit
- 1998: 58–24, Eastern Conference Runner-Up
- 1999: 33–17, Eastern Conference Runner-Up (note: season was shortened due to lockout)
- 2000: 56–26, Eastern Conference Champions
- "Larry, you only told me one lie. You said there will be another Larry Bird. Larry, there will never, ever be another Larry Bird." — Magic Johnson, as quoted at Bird's retirement party.
Bird's humble roots led to his most frequently used moniker, "The Hick From French Lick". Other observers called him "The Great White Hope". In 1999, Bird ranked #30 in ESPN's SportsCentury's 50 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century.
For the 2008 NBA Finals, which featured a rematch of the Celtics-Lakers rivalry, Bird appeared in a split-screen advertisement with Magic Johnson (as part of the "There Can Only Be One" campaign which had played throughout the 2008 NBA Playoffs but to that point only featured players from the two teams competing in a given series) discussing the meaning of rivalries.
Player profile Edit
Bird, a versatile wing man who played the power forward and small forward positions, is considered as one of the greatest wing players of all time, to which his twelve All-Star team nominations are a testament. The versatile, sharpshooting Bird made his name stepping up his performance in critical situations, and is credited with a long list of dominating games, buzzer beaters and clutch defensive plays. He won two NBA Finals MVP and three regular-season MVP awards, something only five other players in the history of the NBA have accomplished. He won them all in a row, a feat only shared by Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.
Bird possessed an uncanny and unparalleled ability to anticipate and react to the strategies of his opponents. His talent for recognizing the moves of opponents and teammates prompted his first coach with the Celtics, Bill Fitch, to nickname him "Kodak", because he seemed to formulate mental pictures of every play that took place on the court.
Bird scored 24.3 points per game in his career on a high .496 field goal average, a stellar .886 free throw average (9th best all-time) and a 37.6 percentage on 3-point shots. Bird was also a good rebounder (10.0 rebound career average) and an excellent playmaker (6.3 assist career average). His multidimensional game made him a consistent triple-double threat; Bird currently ranks fifth all-time in triple-doubles with 59, not including the 10 he recorded in the playoffs. Bird's lifetime player efficiency rating (PER) is 23.5, 16th all-time, a further testament to his all around game. Bird's high free throw percentage is due in no small part to the fact that when he was a boy, he used to shoot 200 free throws before school, every day, according to a late 1990s Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance commercial with Larry himself. Bird is also remembered as an excellent defender. While he was neither fast or quick-footed, and could not always shut down an individual player one-on-one, he consistently displayed a knack for anticipating the moves of his opponent, allowing him to intercept passes and create turnovers. His 1,556 career steals ranks 27th all-time. Unspectacular but effective defensive moves, such as jumping into a passing lane to make a steal or allowing his man to step past and drive to the hoop, then blocking the opponent's shot from behind, were staples of Bird's defensive game. In recognition of his defensive abilities, Bird was named to three All-Defensive Second Teams.
Bird's competitive nature often emerged in nearly constant trash-talking on the court. Some notable examples follow:
- During the three-point shooting contest on All-Star Weekend 1986, Bird entered the locker room, looked around without saying a word, then finally said, "I want all of you to know I am winning this thing. I'm just looking around to see who's gonna finish up second." He won the shooting contest.
- During one game on Christmas Day against the Indiana Pacers, before the game Bird told Chuck Person that he had a Christmas present waiting for him. During the game, when Person was on the bench, Bird shot a three-pointer on the baseline right in front of Person. Immediately after releasing the ball, Bird said to Person, "Merry f***in' Christmas!", and then the shot went in.
- Reggie Miller recalled his encounter with Larry Bird's legendary trash talking ability in his book "I Love Being The Enemy". Reggie tried to disrupt Larry's concentration when he was shooting free throws late in a game. Larry glared at him, made the first free throw and said, "Rook, I am the best f***ing shooter in the league. In the league, understand? And you're up here trying to f***ing tell me something?" Then Larry buried the second free throw.
- Late in a tied game against the Seattle SuperSonics, Bird told Supersonics forward Xavier McDaniel, who was guarding him, exactly where he would hit the game winning shot. After a timeout, Bird made two baseline cuts, then posted in the exact spot he had indicated to McDaniel, paused, turned, and hit the shot in his face.
- On November 9, 1984, Bird was ejected along with Julius Erving in the third quarter after an on court scuffle. At the point of both ejections, Bird had outscored Erving 42 to 6. During the game, Bird had continuously informed Erving of their tallies with every chance he got to score. Bird denies this stating that it was "M.L. (Carr) talking trash from the bench" during that game. Eventually a shoving match ensued, then swings taken by both players, and finally a bench-clearing brawl.
Prior to attending Indiana State University, Bird married his high-school girlfriend, Janet Condra. The marriage lasted only 11 months, but produced a daughter, Corrie, born on August 14, 1977.
In 1998, Corrie Bird appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and revealed that she was Bird's daughter from his first marriage though Larry had denied paternity until the mid 80's. She discussed her longing to connect with her father, who she had not seen in 17 years. Corrie's story was also shown on 20/20 and was run as an article in the September 4, 1998 issue of Sports Illustrated. Corrie, like her father, played basketball in high school and attended Indiana State University, graduating with a degree in elementary education.
On October 31, 1989, Bird married Dinah Mattingly (NOT related to New York Yankees legend and Los Angeles Dodgers coach Don Mattingly). The couple has two adopted children, son Connor and daughter Mariah.
Memorable moments Edit
Bird is remembered as one of the foremost clutch performers in the history of the NBA. Few players have performed as brilliantly in critical moments of games.
- In Game 7 of the 1981 Eastern Conference finals against the rival Philadelphia 76ers, The Sixers led all game. Inside the final minute, Boston and Philadelphia were tied 89–89 when Bird sank a fast-break mid-range pull-up bank shot with his left hand, a very difficult shot to execute under intense pressure. That basket put the Celtics up 91-89. The Sixers had a chance to win the game, but threw away the lob inbounds pass intended for Julius Erving. The Celtics' 91-90 win put them into the NBA finals for the first time since 1976 and they would go on to win the NBA championship in the Finals, beating the Houston Rockets in 6 games. In the late stages of the game, Bird also had two key steals, two free throws made, a rebound, and a blocked shot.
- In 1985 (January 27th), Larry Bird hit an amazing baseline jumper at the buzzer while falling out of bounds to give the Celtics a 128-127 win over Portland.
- In the series-clinching Game 6 of the 1986 Finals, Bird recorded a triple-double of 29 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
- In Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons, with six seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and Boston trailing the Pistons 107–106, Bird stole an inbound pass from Isiah Thomas that was intended for Bill Laimbeer. Falling out of bounds, Bird turned and passed the ball to teammate Dennis Johnson, who was cutting to the basket and converted a 2-point layup with less than a second left. The Pistons called a timeout but had no chance of getting off a shot. The dramatic play saved the series for the Celtics who won in 7 games, and they advanced to the Finals.
- In a game in Washington against the Bullets in 1987, the Celtics trailed the Bullets by 3 points with 6 seconds remaining in regulation. A three-pointer by Bird had been waved off because their coach, K. C. Jones, had already called a timeout. Bird then made another three-pointer to send the game into overtime. When the Celtics trailed by two points near the end of the first overtime, Bird was fouled and converted both free throws. In the second overtime, trailing by 1 point with 2 seconds remaining, Bird made a buzzer-beating running shot to win the game, 140–139.
- In Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks, Bird shot 9 of 10 from the floor in the fourth quarter, scoring 20 points in that quarter and lifting the Celtics to a series-clinching victory over Atlanta. This effort helped to overcome a 47 point performance by Dominique Wilkins in the same game.
- On March 31, 1991, the Celtics played a double overtime game with the Chicago Bulls in their last meeting of the season. In the second overtime period, Bird scored 9 points on 4 of 5 shooting from the field and helped the Celtics beat the Bulls, 135–132. Many called this particular game Bird's finest performance against Michael Jordan.
- In the last seconds of a nationally-televised regular season game with the Portland Trail Blazers in March 1992, Bird sent the game into overtime with an off balance running one-handed three-point shot. Bird tallied 49 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists and 4 steals for his 59th and final career triple-double in what many fans called his last great game in the NBA. The Celtics won in double overtime over the Blazers, 152–148. Bird's 49 points stands as the NBA record for most points scored while registering a triple-double.
- Michael Jordan, who Larry Bird may have been second only to,as the most feared clutch player and as a overall player,with his heroics with the Chicago Bulls, once was asked who he would want to take a shot with the game on the line, other than himself. Before the question could be finished, Jordan quickly responded, "Larry Bird."
- On August 18, 1992, Larry Bird announced his retirement during the day. At Fenway Park that day, the Red Sox were playing the California Angels. Roger Clemens, the Red Sox starting pitcher, had a small 33 on his hat as a tribute to Bird. Angels manager John Wathan immediately protested, saying it did not meet regulations. The crowd booed relentlessly, chanting "Larry, Larry, Larry." Clemens threw his hat into the dugout in disgust when told it was not allowed. He then proceeded to throw a four-hit shutout for an 8-0 victory.
- On March 30, 1983, Bird scored 53 points against the Indiana Pacers to set the Celtic record for highest scoring output in a game by an individual player (the previous record belonged to Sam Jones who scored 51 points against the Detroit Pistons on October 29, 1965). Bird also set the franchise record for most points scored in a quarter with 24 points in the third quarter which has since been equaled by Todd Day against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 22, 1995.
- On February 18, 1985, Bird registered a triple double (30 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) and also had 9 steals in three quarters of play against the Utah Jazz. Bird sat out the fourth quarter, as the Celtics led 90-66 after the third quarter and won the game 110–94. When asked by reporters if he actually wanted to play in the 4th quarter to get the quadruple double, Bird said "What for? I already did enough damage to them."
- On March 12, 1985, Bird scored 60 points against the Atlanta Hawks to reclaim the record for highest scoring output in a game by a Celtic, just nine days after teammate Kevin McHale broke Bird's previous record by scoring 56 points against the Detroit Pistons.
- On April 1, 1987, Bird registered a triple double (17 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) by halftime against the Washington Bullets. He finished the game with 30 points, 17 rebounds, and 15 assists.
- On November 11, 1987, Bird completed the first 40 point–20 rebound game in Celtics history against the Indiana Pacers.
- On November 10, 1989, Bird scored 50 points against the Atlanta Hawks to register his fourth and final 50 point game in his career. Bird's four career 50 point games stand as the record for most 50 point games by a Celtic.
- Bird recorded three 40 point triple double games in his professional career. The first was on February 14, 1986 in an overtime win against the Portland Trailblazers. He finished that game with 47 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. The second occurred on December 13, 1989 in a win over the Seattle Supersonics (40 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists). The last was in a double overtime win against the Portland Trailblazers on March 15, 1992 where Bird finished with 49 points (the record for most points scored while recording a triple double), 14 rebounds, and 12 assists. Bird also totaled 69 triple doubles (59 regular season and 10 postseason) which stands behind Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, and Wilt Chamberlain for 5th most all-time.
In popular cultureEdit
- In October 2005, a man in Oklahoma City, Eric James Torpy, was convicted of shooting with intent to kill and robbery. He asked that his sentence be changed from 30 years imprisonment to 33 so that it would match Bird's jersey number. His request was granted.
- Bird has appeared in three movies, Blue Chips, released in 1994 by Paramount, the Warner Brothers film Space Jam with Michael Jordan and Bill Murray in 1996, and Celtic Pride with Dan Aykroyd, Daniel Stern, and Damon Wayans, which was also released in 1996.
- Bird has appeared in several video games. In NBA 2K and NBA Live Series, he is a member of the 80's Legends Team. In College Hoops 2K7 and NCAA 7 March Madness, Bird appears on the historic team as a member of the 1978-79 Indiana State Sycamores team. In One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird (a popular 1983 title for the Apple II and Commodore 64) Bird plays opposite Julius Erving in a game of one-on-one. Jordan vs Bird: One on One was a 1988 basketball video game for the Mega Drive/Genesis, the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Commodore 64, and the PC. It was the sequel to One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird.
- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler John Cena often wore a Boston Celtics jersey with Bird on the back during his 2004 tenure.
- In the Adult Swim Cartoon The Boondocks Uncle Ruckus taunts Riley saying all the best basketball players have always been white and then makes mention of Larry Bird.
- In an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Charlie and Dennis keep insulting Dee by calling her Larry Bird. When Dee shoots back that they are Larry Bird, they take it as a compliment.
- In boy band LFO's hit, "Summer Girls", the lyrics refer to "the great Larry Bird jersey 33".
- In the movie Space Jam, Bill Murray ponders why he can't play in the NBA. Bill Murray: "It's because I'm white, isn't it?" Michael Jordan: "Larry's white..." Bill Murray: "Larry's not white. Larry's clear."
- In an episode of The Larry Sanders Show, late-night talk show host Larry Sanders cracks a joke during his monologue about Larry Bird's retirement: "Larry Bird announced that he is retiring because he realized he was white."
- In an episode of Family Guy, after beating Chris at basketball Peter Griffin remarks "Hey, I'm the white Larry Bird!"
- The band Dispatch has a song called "Just Like Larry" about Larry Bird, who is their hometown hero from his days as a member of the Boston Celtics.
- Bird was one of the several NBA legends mentioned in Kurtis Blow's song Basketball
- In a phone commercial when Larry Bird tells Tweety Bird that they are not related, Tweety not only comments on them having the same last name but that they "look an awful lot alike".
- Bird has his own shoe brand named "33's," or Birds, made by Skechers. They have a logo of him shooting on the back and the number 33 on each side.
- "Larry Bird: Bird of Prey". In ESPN SportsCentury (1999). Michael MacCambridge, Editor. New York: Hyperion-ESPN Books. pp. 253-4.
- nba.com historical playerfile
- Larry Bird biography provided by hoophall.com
- Sportscentury's 30th greatest athlete of all time provided by ESPN.com
- NBA.com: Where Legends Are Born
- NBA History
- CNN/Sports Illustrated: A Player for the Ages
- 1979 Oscar Robertson Trophy USBWA College Player of the Year
- Career Stats, courtesy of basketball-reference.com
- Videos of Larry Bird on mReplay.com
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