Larry Bird is often talked about in the same sentence as Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson, and that’s definitely an accurate place for him to be discussed. No one quite dominated the 80’s like Larry Bird who was a wrecking force to all of his oppositions. The Boston Celtic’s legend has extremely impressive benchmarks, trophies and records – however it’s what’s under the surface that really makes him an inspiring character. Bird’s life facts and events from growing up in poverty to dropping out of university and becoming a garbage man are some of the things that built his character strong from the inner realm. Here are the 5 most fascinating facts that set Bird apart from the rest…
Inspiring Fact #1: Larry Bird Overcame An Upbringing In Poverty:
Larry was the fourth of six children and he grew up with a father who was unemployed many times throughout his life and his mother worked at a Diner to make ends barely meet. Rumour has it, the family had a coal furnace which resulted in some very cold and harsh winters. Larry Bird has stated that escaping a life of poverty was one of his big motivations for a career in basketball. On some occasions, Larry would be sent to live with his grandmother when financial troubles dipped too low.
Speaking on his mother’s unconditional love and care for her kid’s:
“If there was a payment to the bank due, and we needed shoes, she’d get the shoes, and then deal with them guys at the bank. I don’t mean she wouldn’t pay the bank, but the children always came first.”
Inspiring Fact #2: He Powered Through Difficult Adversities:
His father was an alcoholic. According to some sources, his father would, on a few occasions, spend his pay cheques at the local bar rather than bring it home to the family where the funds were very necessary. Larry and his father were extremely close regardless of the struggles, but things took a dive for the worst when his father shot himself in the head after a long list of unemployment and thought it was best to provide some sort of insurance money for the family. Larry was only 18 and felt abandoned but learned a ton from his father nonetheless, most of which were the hard working ethics that he ingrained in him.
Inspiring Fact #3: Larry Bird Dropped Out Of College And Became a Garbage man:
Apparently, Bird only attended Indiana University for 24 days before dropping out. He did not have enough money to pursuit university and also had a strange time fitting in to the lifestyle – as Bird was known to be a bit timid and shy too. He returned to his hometown of French Lick where he would also drop out from junior college as well. Upon leaving school and realizing the huge need for money, he took up a job as a garbage man where he actually quite enjoyed it admitting:
“I loved that job. It was outdoors, you were around your friends. Picking up brush, cleaning it up. I felt like I was really accomplishing something. How many times are you riding around your town and you say to yourself, ‘Why don’t they fix that? Why don’t they clean the streets up?’ And here I had the chance to do that. I had the chance to make my community look better.”
This was another gift of his: To keep an optimistic-grateful attitude and a strong hunger for a better life. Eventually with this mentality, Larry Bird would be recognized by Bill Hodges who would push hard to get him into Indian State University where he would get his opportunity to prove himself. He would not let down whatsoever as he heavily contributed to taking the team to the very impressive track record of 33-0.
Inspiring Fact #4: “Larry Legend” Had Extreme Certainty In Himself & His Abilities:
Although he was a more reserved individual who didn’t open up much away from the court, when it came to the game – he did not back down or take the passenger seat. In fact, he was extremely confident and demanded the ball when the game got intense. With great certainty – Larry Bird would predict the game scores prior to it even beginning and even told the opposing star players he was going to get it done in the big moments of the game. Whether winning or losing, he played with a fearless and self worthy demeanour. He was even known for trash-talking, especially with his biggest rival Magic Johnson, and if need be, would even get into the odd fight on the court.
“Leadership is getting players to believe in you. If you tell a teammate you’re ready to play as tough as you’re able to, you’d better go out there and do it. Players will see right through a phony. And they can tell when you’re not giving it all you’ve got.”
Inspiring Fact #5: Bird Practised And Perfected His Passion:
With a huge competitive mind frame and the understanding that perfecting was mandatory he claimed “I don’t know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody – somewhere – was practicing more than me.” Larry Bird would apparently take around 200 practice basketball shots every morning before he would go to school. He was said to have been a workhorse in his pursuit of mastering the game of basketball. Eventually this led Bird to become one of the most winning players of all time with a long list of accolades: He was a 3 time NBA champion, a 3 time MVP and he was the rookie of the year in his first year, just to name a few.
“Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.”
Inspiring Fact #6: A Gruelling Work Ethic And Ability To Fight Through Any Pain:
Bird’s own personal mantra was “I’ve got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.” He definitely lived up to his own philosophy as he would persevere through many injuries in the later half of his career. He underwent back surgery to ease pressure in his lower back after many seasons of playing hurt while realigning his back prior to every game. He would often need to lie down during games as the excruciating pain would interrupt his play. He initially injured his back when he built his mother’s driveway and was shovelling gravel. He also missed most of the the 1988-89 season after undergoing surgery on both his heels. Bird had an enormous pain threshold. He was known for his epic comeback from a concussion against the Pacers where he returned immediately to take his team to victory, even the Pacers would congratulate him on his out-of-this-world efforts.
Larry Bird gained this inner quality by learning from his father in his younger years. His father had a broken foot and Larry helped him fit his bruised and swollen foot into his boots. He would bare through and go to work regardless of the immense pain.
“A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.”