Larry Bird Revealed Why He Values An Olympic Gold Above All

  • 12.06.2023 20:35:37

Having played for the Boston Celtics for the entirety of his career, Larry Bird had a racked up an impressive CV. Considered to be one of the most ruthless trash talkers in league history, Larry Legend would go on to win three MVPs, three NBA championships, and two Finals MVPs across a 13-year-long career. Despite racking up a $75 million net worth thanks to his success in the league, the Celtics legend preferred another accomplishment that, for him, trumped all the accolades he had collected while in the NBA. Similar to Michael Jordan, "The Hick from French Lick" valued his Olympic gold medal more than his NBA titles.

MJ achieved it all. MVPs, DPOY, ROY, Finals MVPs, Championships etc. You name the silverware and His Airness probably already has it in his trophy cabinet. Despite having one of the most illustrious resumes ever, the Bulls legend expressed the importance of an Olympic gold medal over an NBA title.

In his interview with Playboy in 1992, the 6-feet-6 shooting guard said that an NBA championship would only be celebrated by the fans in and around Chicago. whereas, an Olympic medal would be cherished by the entire nation. "The [NBA] title is for Chicago and the Bulls fans around the United States, but the Olympics are for everybody, in the United States and then some."

Taking a page out of MJ's book, Bird also had similar comments.

Larry Bird prioritized the Olympics over the NBA

Larry Bird White USA Basketball Authentic 1992 Jersey from Mitchell & Ness from fanatics (%65 sale)

Back in 2008, nearly 16 years after winning the gold at the 1992 Barcelona Games, Bird revealed the Olympic gold to be the "ultimate" achievement of his career. During an interview with Nick Friedell of Yahoo! Sports, the Hall-Of-Famer disclosed why the Olympic gold medal was so important for him.

"It was a great experience playing for your country. The Olympics was the ultimate. That was at the end of my career, I knew it was over for me. Being a young kid and being able to watch the Olympics on TV, and watching participants getting their gold medal, and their (country's) song was played, that was the ultimate for me."

Pretty patriotic of Bird and Jordan to value a medal for their country over their individual and franchise's NBA success. Co-captaining the USA team, along with Magic Johnson, a 35-year-old 'beat-up' Bird's back injury would take a toll on him heading into the tournament. Starting merely 3 out of the 8 games, the 6-foot-9 forward averaged only 8.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game as Team USA would go on to win the gold medal.

"I just wanted one time to play with Larry and Michael": Magic Johnson
From all the tales we've heard, Magic Johnson had a great time with the 1992 Dream Team. Talking about his experience leading the squad, Earvin Johnson revealed how playing with MJ, as well as Bird, was on his bucket list. In an appearance on the "All The Smoke" podcast, the Lakers legend said:

"When I think about playing in the Dream Team, that was amazing. Because on my bucket list, I just wanted one time to play with Larry and Michael. So it was really amazing for me to be on that team and to crush everybody by over 42 points per game."

Johnson, who had already announced his retirement prior to the tournament, would play only 6 out of the 8 games in Barcelona. The third-lowest scorer on the team, Magic would put up 8 points along with 5.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game.

Thank you, from thesportsrush - Advait Jajodia

Latest Articles