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Larry Bird is a retired professional basketball player known for his years with the Boston Celtics and his deceptively nimble skills on the court.
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Born in West Baden Springs, Indiana, on December 7, 1956, Larry Bird grew up and attended college in Indiana before heading to the NBA to join the Boston Celtics, the team with which he would spend his entire pro career. Over the course of his 13 seasons with the Celtics, Bird led the team to three championships, was named NBA Most Valuable Player three times, and made the All Star Team 12 times.
"I've got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end."
Larry Bird was born on December 7, 1956, in West Baden Springs, Indiana, and raised in the nearby town of French Lick, where he excelled at basketball at an early age. Bird attended Springs Valley High School in French Lick and was a key component of the school’s basketball team, becoming its leading all-time scorer by the time he graduated in 1974. Bird’s high school basketball stats earned him an athletic scholarship to the University of Indiana, where he was to play for legendary coach Bob Knight. But Bird felt some trepidation at the size of the Hoosier campus and withdrew from school, enrolling at Indiana State the next year.
In his senior year of college, Bird led the Indiana State Sycamores to the NCAA Championship game against the Michigan State Spartans, a team led by another future NBA superstar, Ervin “Magic” Johnson. It was the first time the two star players would face each other in a head-to-head battle, and it began a friendship and rivalry that would span both players’ careers. Johnson and the Spartans triumphed, but Larry Bird left Indiana State that year with the USBWA College Player of the Year Award, the Naismith Award, and the Wooden Award. He was also the fifth-highest scorer in NCAA history, even though he only played for three years.
In 1978, Larry Bird was the Boston Celtics' No. 1 draft pick, signing a contract for a then-record $650,000 a year (he played his final year at Indiana State, however, joining the Celtics in 1979). He justified his salary right out of the gate, averaging 21.3 points per game and taking NBA Rookie of the Year honors. Bird also led the Celtics in rebounding, averaging 10.4 rebounds per game; as well as steals and minutes played, with an average of 143 steals and 2,955 minutes played each game.
In Bird’s second year in the NBA, the Celtics acquired center Robert Parrish from the Golden State Warriors and drafted Kevin McHale. They three players would form a legendary frontline, perhaps the greatest in NBA history. That season, the Celtics posted a 61–21 record and defeated the Houston Rockets to take the first NBA Championship of Bird’s career.
Along with Magic Johnson, who also entered the NBA in 1979, Larry Bird was a key figure in revitalizing the NBA in the 1980s, and Bird’s and Johnson’s teams dominated, with one team or the other, or both, appearing in every NBA Championship in the decade. Bird was already known after two years in the league for consistent, clutch scoring and tenacious defense, which seemed especially uncanny as Bird was not particularly fast on his feet—he developed a reputation for not merely responding to his opponents' moves but seeing how they would play out before they happened.
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Left-handed people are a rare breed—only 10 percent of the general population is a lefty. There isn't a definite scientific explanation of why people are left-handed, and although it might be an inconvenience for some, it's actually an advantage in sports. Legendary lefty athletes include baseball player Babe Ruth and basketball star Larry Bird. They're in good company with a wide variety of famous faces from President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey to composer Wolfgang Mozart and entrepreneur Bill Gates.
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