Larry Bird

Larry Bird - #33 - Boston Celtics

Small Forward | 6'9" | 220 lbs. | Born: December 7, 1956

  • Played all 13 seasons with Celtics
  • Three-time NBA champion
  • Three-time NBA MVP
  • No. 33 retired by Celtics
  • Named to NBA's 50th anniversary team
  • Twelve-time NBA All-Star
  • Two-time NBA Finals MVP
  • Three-time Three-point Shootout champion
  • Member of the 1992 Dream Team
  • Nine-time All-NBA First Team

Drafted sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1978 NBA Draft.

Larry Bird - Biography

Larry Bird

With his extensive list of accolades, Larry Bird had his number (33) retired by the Celtics.
NBAE/Getty Images

There are many Celtics Legends, but there is only one man whose nickname actually is Legend. Larry Bird might be the most well-known Celtics player of all time, and his incredible career led to him being dubbed with an iconic nickname: Larry Legend.

Bird’s legend began long before he arrived in Boston. He was born on Dec. 7, 1956 in West Baden, Ind. Located in the southwest portion of Indiana, West Baden and nearby French Lick were the cities where Bird turned himself from a young boy into a basketball phenom.

He attended Spring Valley High School and experienced successs from the very beginning. Legend has it that Bird would use every minute of his down time, including time between classes, to practice his skills in the school’s gymnasium. That work ethic helped him become the school’s all-time leading scorer. It also drew much attention from the collegiate level, where Bird was sought after as a top-level recruit.

Bobby Knight and the heralded Indiana Hoosiers won the recruiting war for Bird as the 6-foot-9 star moved from high school to college. However, Bird quickly realized that the atmosphere at Indiana University was not for him. He dropped out of IU less than a month after he arrived on campus. He returned home to French Lick for a year before enrolling at Indiana State University, which is about one-quarter of the size of Indiana University.

His collegiate career may have gotten off to a rocky start, but all the man needed to do was find his niche. He did exactly that at Indiana State, and the rest is history.

The school was put on the map thanks to Bird’s presence. He lifted the basketball program to the 1979 NCAA championship game despite the fact that the Sycamores had never reached the NCAA tournament prior to Bird’s arrival. Indiana State lost to Magic Johnson and the Michigan State Spartans in the title game, dropping the Sycamores’ record to 33-1, but that certainly does not diminish Bird’s or his team’s accomplishments. To this day, Bird remains the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,850 points and a career average of 30.3 PPG.

National media outlets paid homage to Bird for his stellar career by awarding him seven separate national player of the year awards, including the prestigious Naismith and Wooden awards.

Oddly enough, all of those awards were reeled in while the Boston Celtics already owned Bird’s professional rights. The franchise drafted Bird sixth overall in 1978 without having assurances that he would forego his final two seasons at Indiana State. Bird wound up returning to school for his junior season, but the Celtics retained his rights for one year. That was enough time for Bird to string together one of the most successful collegiate seasons ever before signing with the C’s in 1979.

Boston became Bird’s home away from home for the next 13 years. He donned green and white for all 13 of his NBA seasons and became one of the greatest professional basketball players of all time.

His success in the NBA began immediately. Bird averaged 21.3 PPG and 10.4 RPG during his rookie season, helping to lead the Celtics to a 61-21 record in 1979-80. The 61 wins were 32 more than the Celtics accumulated during the prior season. One season later, Bird put up 21.2 PPG, 10.9 RPG and 5.5 APG and helped Boston win its first NBA championship since 1976.

The 1981 World Championship was the first of three that Bird would win during his illustrious career. The final two, obtained in 1984 and 1986, featured Finals MVP performances by Bird. He averaged 27.4 PPG and 14.0 RPG during the 1984 Finals victory over the Los Angeles Lakers and 24.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG and 9.5 APG during the 1986 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Bird was a fantastic postseason player, but his regular-season accomplishments were just as great. He scored more than 20.0 PPG in 11 of his 13 NBA seasons, finishing with a career average of 24.3 PPG. He also finished with an average of 10.0 RPG during his career, helping him to reach the rare accomplishment of averaging a double-double for an entire career. Perhaps most impressive of his accomplishments, Bird racked up an astounding 69 triple-doubles during his career. That number, which is far and away the most in Celtics history, showcases how great Bird was in all aspects of the game. Those skills led to him winning three consecutive MVP awards from 1984 to 1986.

Unfortunately for Bird, the NBA and all of the league’s fans around the world, his career was cut short due to a long list of injuries. He struggled with debilitating back problems during the latter part of his career and those issues were the main reason why he announced his retirement on Aug. 18, 1992. That announcement came shortly after he participated in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as part of the famous gold-medal winning Dream Team. Following his retirement, the Celtics retired Bird’s No. 33 jersey on Feb. 4, 1993.

Although Bird’s career ended early, he was able to fill his basketball void by becoming an executive in the NBA for the majority of the next 20 years. He began his career as an executive with the Celtics in 1992, where he served as a special assistant.

After five seasons in that role, he was offered the head coaching position with the Indiana Pacers in 1997. Bird accepted that offer and went on to become the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 1998. He led the Pacers to the playoffs in all three of his seasons as a head coach, including a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000 NBA Finals.

Bird took a few seasons off before returning to the Pacers in 2003 as President of Basketball Operations. Under that role, Bird would have the final say on all basketball matters. Bird slowly rebuilt the Pacers into a contender and the team won 42 games during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA season. He was named the NBA’s Executive of the Year that season, becoming the first person to ever win an NBA MVP award, an NBA Coach of the Year award and an NBA Executive of the Year award. Following Bird’s successful 2011-12 season with the Pacers, he decided to step away from the organization and enjoy retirement.

LARRY BIRD

Height: 6'9" Weight: 220 LBS Birth: 12/07/56 College: INDIANA STATE '79
First round draft choice, as a junior eligible, (the sixth pick overall) in 1978... retired after the 1990-91 season.

Regular Season Record
Year G MIN FGM FGA PCT FTM FTA PCT OFF DEF TOT AST PF-DQ ST BL PTS AVG
79-80 82 2955 693 1463 .474 301 360 .836 216 636 852 370 279-4 143 53 1745 21.3
80-81 82 3239 719 1503 .478 283 328 .863 191 704 895 451 239-2 161 63 1741 21.2
81-82 77 2923 711 1414 .503 328 380 .863 200 637 837 447 244-0 143 66 1761 22.9
82-83 79 2982 747 1481 .504 351 418 .840 193 677 870 458 197-0 148 71 1867 23.6
83-84 79 3028 758 1542 .492 374 421 .888 181 615 796 520 197-0 144 69 1908 24.2
84-85 80 3161 918 1760 .522 403 457 .882 164 678 842 531 208-0 129 98 2295 28.7
85-86 82 3113 796 1606 .496 441 492 .896 190 615 805 557 182-0 166 51 2115 25.8
86-87 74 3005 786 1497 .525 414 455 .910 124 558 682 566 185-3 135 70 2076 28.1
87-88 76 2965 881 1672 .527 415 453 .916 108 595 703 467 157-0 125 57 2275 29.9
88-89 6 189 49 104 .471 18 19 .947 1 36 37 29 18-0 6 5 116 19.3
89-90 75 2944 718 1517 .473 319 343 .930 90 622 712 562 173-2 106 61 1820 24.3
90-91 60 2277 462 1017 .454 163 183 .891 53 456 509 431 118-0 108 58 1164 19.4
91-92 45 1662 353 758 .466 150 162 .926 46 388 434 306 82-0 42 33 908 20.2
TOTALS 897 34443 8591 17334 .496 3960 4471 .886 1757 7217 8974 5695 2279-11 1556 755 21791 24.3
Three-Point Field Goals: 1979-80, 58-for-143 (.406); 1980-81, 20-for-74 (.270); 1981-82, 11-for-52 (.212); 1982-83, 22-for-77 (.286); 1983-84, 18-for-73 (.247); 1984-85, 56-for-131 (.427); 1985-86, 82-for-194 (.423); 1986-87, 90-for-225 (.400); 1987-88, 98-for-237 (.414); 1988-89, 0-for-0 (.000); 1989-90, 65-for-195 (.333); 1990-91, 77-for-198 (.389); 1991-92, 52-for-128 (.406); Totals: 649-for-1727 (.376).
Playoff Record
79-80 9 372 83 177 .469 22 25 .880 22 79 101 42 30-0 14 8 192 21.3
80-81 17 750 147 313 .470 76 85 .894 49 189 238 103 53-0 39 17 373 21.9
81-82 12 490 88 206 .427 37 45 .822 33 117 150 67 43-0 23 17 214 17.8
82-83 6 240 49 116 .422 24 29 .828 20 55 75 41 15-0 13 3 123 20.5
83-84 23 961 229 437 .524 167 190 .879 62 190 252 136 71-0 54 27 632 27.5
84-85 20 815 196 425 .461 121 136 .890 53 129 182 115 54-0 34 19 520 26.0
85-86 18 770 171 331 .517 101 109 .927 34 134 168 148 55-0 37 11 466 25.9
86-87 23 1015 216 454 .476 176 193 .912 41 190 231 165 55-1 27 19 622 27.0
87-88 17 763 152 338 .450 101 113 .894 29 121 150 115 45-0 36 14 417 24.5
88-89 0 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
89-90 5 207 44 99 .444 29 32 .906 7 39 46 44 10-0 5 5 122 24.4
90-91 10 396 62 152 .408 44 51 .863 8 64 72 65 28-0 13 3 171 17.1
91-92 4 107 21 42 .500 3 4 .750 2 16 18 21 7-0 1 2 45 11.3
TOTALS 164 6886 1458 3090 .472 901 1012 .890 360 1323 1683 1062 466-1 296 145 3897 23.8
Three-Point Field Goals: 1979-80, 4-for-15 (.267); 1980-81, 3-for-8 (.375); 1981-82, 1-for-6 (.167); 1982-83, 1-for-4 (.250); 1983-84, 7-for-17 (.412); 1984-85, 7-for-25 (.280); 1985-86, 23-for-56 (.411), 1986-87, 14-for-41 (.341); 1987-88, 12-for-32 (.375); 1988-89, 0-for-0 (.000); 1989-90, 5-for-19 (.263); 1990-91, 3-for-21 (.143); 1991-92, 0-for-5 (.000). Totals: 80-for-249 (.321).