Reynolds Remembers: 1-on-1 at Larry Bird’s House

With over 50 years of basketball experience, Jerry Reynolds shares his most memorable, and never-before-heard stories.
by Jordan Ramirez
Digital Managing Editor

Jerry Reynolds is basketball royalty.

Born in French Lick, Indiana — the same town as Larry Bird — the 76-year-old Reynolds has served in nearly every capacity during his time in Sacramento.

The French Lick native attended Springs Valley High School in Indiana and played college ball at Vincennes University where he also started his coaching career in 1967.

Beginning as an assistant coach and developing into a head coach, general manager, adviser and broadcaster, there isn’t a greater embodiment of being Sacramento Proud than the native Hoosier.

With his basketball knowledge infinite and stories to last a lifetime, “Reynolds Remembers” are tales from Jerry, by Jerry, for the fans.

So, let’s hippity-hop to the barber shop with the legend himself.

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It was 1988 or ‘89. My mom was still alive and my brothers lived in French Lick, of course. Larry [Bird] had a home in French Lick at that time.

I always spent some time with Larry, and I went over to visit with him, Rick Carlisle and a friend of his.

We sat down and had a beer or two, and all of a sudden one of Larry's buddies from high school, we called him ‘Beezer,’ came over. He was a point guard on Larry's high school team.

Larry, of course, talked a little trash and would egg me on. Beezer was saying he was the best high school guard to come out of Springs Valley High School in the 70s and I said, ‘Well I can tell you one thing. I was damn sure the best to come out there in the 60s.’ And so, all of a sudden we need to play one-on-one to decide who the champion really is.

Larry initially wanted to be the referee, to which I said, ‘hell no,’ because I knew I’d never have a fighting chance if he got to call the game for his high school buddy.

Rick [Carlisle] said, ‘I'll call the game.’ Rick decided to call it and we played a one-on-one game, and you want to know what happened? I kicked his hind end and proved to be the dominant force of all guards from Spring Valley High School in the 60s and 70s!

Rick Carlisle became the Rick Carlisle that we currently know — one of the great coaches in the history of the NBA. He proved himself to be a solid referee, too. I won convincingly. That's all I can tell you. Beezer would probably have a little different slant on it, but I thought it was very fair.

Meanwhile, it was clear Larry [Bird] was not being very fair in his assessment. He was questioning a few calls and they all seemed to be going Beezer’s way.

The final score was 15 to 10. Not bad for the Caucasian Comet. (Yes, that was my nickname growing up, because believe it or not, I used to be incredibly quick.)

Every time I go to French Lick, I spend time with Larry. When he would visit Sacramento, he came over in the evening and would spend time visiting. We'd have a few beers and just talk.

Larry used to bust my chops with the trash talk. He’d always be making fun, saying ‘My God, you guys are slow and old.’ I said of course! I was in my late 40s at that time. And he was in his early 30s.

He's a real trash-talker who did a lot when I was coaching. He’d bust my chops and get my guys all screwed up because he'd f--- with them too.

I definitely have more stories that I can share of Larry’s trash-talking, maybe for the next chapter..


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Stay tuned for more stories from the Sacramento legend as “Reynolds Remembers” continues throughout 2020.

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