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It's been a while since Hall of Fame small forward Larry Bird was playing for the Boston Celtics, but the shadow of his greatness with the Celtics continues to impact those around him.
In a recent interview with Tidal League's "Run Your Race" podcast hosted by another Boston alum, wing Theo Pinson, Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner opened up about what it was like to meet the Celtics great while he was working in his current role as a member of the Pacers' front office working as a consultant. "People don't realize how big he is in person," related Turner. "He's all of 6-foot-10, 6-foot-11."
"Even at his elder age, he still ... has such an intimidating aura about him," added the Pacers center. "Very intimidating aura. He's the one who drafted me, for people who don't know. He was the GM at the time when I first got to Indy."
"Obviously everyone knows Larry Legend," said Turner. "Once I get there, I shake his hand, firm (expletive) handshake. He says, 'Alright son, you ready to get to work?'; he was such a cool dude. So laid back, but he is about his business."
"He's not into the whole hokey-pokey, social media — it's work. (He said) 'I drafted you here for a reason, you're here for a reason, I'm here to work.' He's not with all the games and stuff. A very serious guy, intense."
"You can tell he's from the old school, his mentality," continued the Pacers big man, appearing to wax a bit nostalgic.
"My draft night, after the green room, you do a couple of interviews, stay in there a couple of hours, and I had three of my boys up from Texas. I had never been to any bar, or club — nothing. So in New York City after the draft, we all went out, all night. I didn't know my flight was at 5 a.m. to get to Indiana for your press conference the next day. I went out, I was torched. I didn't even pack enough, I only had one shoe, it was crazy. It was crazy — (expletive)'s all over the room, I'm hungover (...), I go to this press conference, and the first person I meet is Larry Bird."
"So I was shaking myself (awake), and he was like (extends hand)," recalled Turner vividly.
"I went through the whole conference, it was him, it was Frank Vogel as well — I have to give a big shout to Frank Vogel as well, that's my guy as well, first coach I had, and first one to really give me a chance," said the Texan.
"Being around (Bird), it made you lock in that much more. When he walked into practice, he was just sitting here, just like this, every single practice. Watching every single practice, every day. It made you lock in that much more, because you knew greatness was in the room."
Listen to the "Celtics Lab" podcast on:
Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3zBKQY6