Larry Bird

Larry Bird

NBA Legend
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Program Descriptions

Why Book Larry Bird?

  • Larry Bird is a basketball legend, Olympic champion and now is a motivational speaker

  • Larry loves to teach audiences about the importance and inner workings of great leaders. He speaks about the traits needed to overcome any obstacle, and teaches mental perseverance.

  • Biography Read more

    Like the state he hailed from, Indiana, the name Larry Bird is virtually synonymous with the game of basketball. Although his family faced economic hardship throughout his childhood, Larry began to excel at basketball at an early age. Larry attended Springs Valley High School in French Lick, where he starred on the basketball team, becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer by the time he graduated in 1974.

    Larry’s performance in high school earned him an athletic scholarship to the University of Indiana, where he was to play under the legendary coach, Bob Knight. However, as a small-town youth, Larry felt a bit overwhelmed by the immensity of the Hoosier campus and decided to withdraw from school.

    After deliberating for a year, he enrolled at Indiana State and it was as an ISU Sycamore that his legend began to build. In 1979, his senior year, Larry Bird led the Sycamores to the NCAA Championship game. Indiana State faced the Michigan State Spartans, who were led by another future NBA superstar, Ervin “Magic” Johnson. It was the first time the two star forwards would match talent and wits, but it wouldn’t be the last.

    In 1979, the storied parquet court of the Boston Garden welcomed Larry Bird as the Boston Celtics’ number one draft pick. Larry signed for a then-record $650,000 a year and began justifying the investment immediately, averaging 21.3 points per game and earning NBA Rookie of the Year honors. Larry also led the team in rebounding, steals, and minutes played. Larry Bird’s arrival in Boston marked the start of the Celtics return to glory.

    The 1987-88 season was Larry’s best statistically. He averaged 29.9 points per game, playing 39 minutes per game, with a .527 field goal percentage and .916 free throw percentage. Then, in 1988-89, his season was cut short with a need for a bone-spur operation. He returned for the 1989-90 season, but was somewhat slowed by back problems that would eventually contribute to his retirement.

    In the summer of 1992, Larry Bird joined Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and other NBA stars to form the U.S. Olympics Men’s Basketball Team. It was the first time the U.S. had sent professional athletes to compete in the games and the assembly of superstars was dubbed the Dream Team. True to their billing, Larry Bird and his fellow NBA colleagues easily won the Olympic Gold Medal for the United States.

    Larry Bird, affectionately referred to as “The Hick from French Lick,” had come a long way since his days as a small-town Indiana lad shooting 200 free throws each day before school. But Larry was never one to rest on his laurels.

    Larry Bird will always be remembered as one of the greatest basketball players of all time and among the top five or fewer “clutch” performers in NBA history. And his fans will never forget just how wonderful it was to watch number 33 in action!

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