The great Larry Bird was drafted into the NBA by the Boston Celtics in 1978. This incredible basketball player spent thirteen seasons as one of the NBA’s most formidable sportsmen, who gave it his all in the power forward and small forward positions. Larry Bird is also considered one of the greatest players of all time, having received twelve “All-Star Team” nominations during his career.
The sharp-shooting Bird made his name by being able to offer a perfect performance in each and every critical situation on the court. Not only is Larry Bird credited with a long list of dominating games and buzzer beating throws, but he also won two “NBA Finals MVP” and three regular-season “MVP” awards.
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In 1979, the parquet court of the Boston Garden welcomed Larry Bird as the Boston Celtics number one draft pick. There, Larry Bird began his path to become a true basketball hero who averaged 21.3 points per game and earned “NBA Rookie of the Year” honors.
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Once the NBA’s greatest dynasty, the Boston Celtics had endured lean years in the late 1970’s. And, although they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs, Larry Bird’s arrival in Boston marked the start of the Celtics return to glory.
The 1980-81 season saw the Celtics overcome Dr. J. and the 76ers in the playoffs heading to the NBA Finals, which is where they conquered the Houston Rockets in six games to win the first “NBA Championship” of Larry Bird’s career.
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Driven by Larry Bird’s stellar talent and leadership, the beloved Celtics quickly became one of the two dominant teams in the NBA, with the other being the Los Angeles Lakers led by Larry’s collegiate rival, Magic Johnson. In fact, during the entire decade of the 80’s, every NBA final featured either the Celtics or the Lakers…or both!
Then, in 1988-89, Larry Bird’s season was cut short with a need for a bone-spur operation. He returned to the court the next season, but was somewhat slowed by back problems that would eventually contribute to his retirement. Still, Larry Bird remained among the NBA’s elite, leading the Celtics to the playoffs in each of his last three seasons and averaging over 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists per game!
In the summer of 1992, Larry Bird joined Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and other NBA stars to form the “U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team.” It was the first time the U.S. sent professional athletes to compete in the games, and the assembly of such amazingly gifted basketball superstars was dubbed, The Dream Team. This title could not have been more correct, as Larry Bird and his fellow NBA colleagues easily won the Olympic Gold Medal for the United States.
Larry Bird had a truly golden career, and on August 18, 1992 announced his retirement from the NBA. Due to chronic back problems, he retired as a player, and was voted to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, as well as inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2003, Larry Bird assumed the role of president of basketball operations for the Pacers. So even though he no longer wore the Celtics famous basketball jersey #33, he never removed himself from the court that he helped make famous!