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It has been 28 years since NBA legend, Larry Bird, hung up his boots on August 18, 1992.
Larry Bird was a phenomenon. "The Hick from French Lick" and "Larry Legend" as he was famously called was a man who was a nightmare to oppositions for his attacking gameplay. The power forward played for the Boston Celtics throughout his career and led them to the pinnacle of success. Back when was signed up by the Celtics, he signed up a $3.25 million contract with the team that was the highest for a rookie athlete in sports.
He didn't disappoint. Bird's stats average 24.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.8 steals per game in the 1983-84 season saw him earn the MVP. He was named MVP again after his team took on Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers and won with his average reading 27.4 points, 14 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. That wasn't all as he notched up a career-high and franchise record 60 points against the Atlanta Hawks.
It was just typical of Bird to take the court and rock it with his skills. Some of his major achievements include:
(i) 12-time NBA All-Star
(ii) Was voted MVP thrice in a row between 1984-86
(iii) Bird was part of the 'Dream Team', the name of the US Olympic basketball team that won the 1992 gold
(iv) He was inducted in the NaismithMemorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998
An Indiana native, Bird first averaged 30 points in his a sophomore, junior and senior playing for the Sycamores. Soon after his move to the Celtics, his presence was felt almost immediately as he led the team to the NBA title in his second season. The sporting world had their wish when they hoped for the best of the best in the game to suit up in the same jersey and Bird did with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan for the Olympics
The decorated career came to a halt when he was 35 with chronic back issues hitting him hard. According to History, he spoke candidly about the back issues and its impact on his body while David Stern, the NBA Commissioner paid a rich tribute to Bird. "Quite simply, Larry Bird has helped to define the way a generation of basketball fans has come to view and appreciate the NBA. In the future, great players will be judged against the standards he has set, but there will never be another Larry Bird."
He might not have taken the field even he loved to. However, that didn't stop him from landing a position as a special assistant with the Celtics after his retirement in 1992. After a good five years, he moved to coach the Indiana Pacers, a position he was not familiar with. But then, typical Bird delivered as the Pacers went to a 58-24 record in the 1997-18 season.
Soon after, he ended his three-year stint and went on to become the president of basketball operations for the Pacers in 2003. In 2012, Bird cited health issues to move away from the position before returning the following year. He called it again in 2017 and has been with the Pacers in a more advisory role. Quite recently, he was part of ESPN's 'The Last Dance' that saw followed the career of Michael Jordan and his time with the Chicago Bulls. Bird, in the documentary, shed light on playing with and alongside Jordan during his immensely successful career.