Flashback Athlete of the Month for August 2023
Larry Joe Bird, born on December 7, 1956, is a retired American professional basketball player, coach, and executive renowned for his outstanding contributions to the NBA. Widely hailed as one of the greatest basketball players in history, Bird earned the nicknames “the Hick from French Lick” and “Larry Legend.” Hailing from French Lick, Indiana, Bird displayed exceptional talent as a local basketball star.
In the 1978 NBA draft, Bird was selected sixth overall by the Boston Celtics. Despite the opportunity to turn professional, Bird chose to complete his college education. Bird officially entered the NBA in the 1979-1980 season, making an immediate impact as the Celtics’ power forward. He played his entire 13-season professional career with the Celtics, guiding them to five NBA finals appearances and securing three NBA championships. Bird’s excellence on the court earned him numerous accolades, including being named a 12-time NBA All-Star, winning two NBA Finals MVP awards, and achieving three consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player Awards from 1984 to 1986.
Beyond his NBA success, Bird also represented the United States and won a gold medal as part of the “Dream Team” during the 1992 Olympic basketball competition. His incredible talent and accomplishments led to his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame twice — first as an individual in 1998 and later as a member of the “Dream Team” in 2010. Bird’s legacy extended to being voted among the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. After retiring as a player, Bird transitioned to coaching and served as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000, leading them to the NBA Finals in 2000 and earning the NBA Coach of the Year award in 1997-1998.