Larry Bird was born in West Baden Springs, Indiana, on 7th December, 1956, he grew up and attended college in Indiana before heading to the NBA to join the Boston Celtics, the team with which he would spend his entire pro career. Over the course of his 13 seasons with the Celtics, Bird led the team to three championships, was named NBA Most Valuable Player three times, and made the All-Star team 12 times.
Bird was born to poor parents in Orange County. The family had six kids and didn’t always have much growing up. Bird’s two elder brothers were athletic, competitive and always ready to give him a challenge. Sports formed a major part of their lives and they were always playing – baseball, basketball or football – so much so that a day didn’t pass by without them playing.
Bird was pretty good at basketball and played as a power forward or a small forward. He consistently shot 50% from the field and 90% from the free throw line. But his competitiveness made him a selfish player. He often demanded the ball, especially during pressure situations.
The Ankle Injury That Made Bird a Better Player
During his sophomore year in high school, Bird broke his ankle during a game and was out for almost the entire season. Being really upset that he couldn’t play, he sought to practice any way he could. He started focusing on passing the ball whilst hobbling on his cast.
He realized that he loved passing and was good at it. Usually players who play at the forward positions don’t usually pass the ball much as they find themselves closer to the basket. Their main responsibility is scoring points. But Larry Bird changed that.
No other forward in NBA history passed with the effectiveness that Larry Bird did. He became one of the best passers of the game. And all because an injury forced him to focus on passing the ball.
- Recognize opportunity in adversity. When things go wrong, what can you work on to improve your situation?
- Be a team player. And you will win more.