This still bums me out.
I’m so happy Larry Bird doesn’t play today. Somehow, some way, people would over-analyze him, overreact to him, and over-emphasize things that aren’t important about him.
The back injury that ultimately shortened his career? He hurt it putting up a retaining wall at his Indiana home… when he easily could have paid someone.
He broke his hand during a bar fight in the middle of a playoff run… but the story got swept under the rug.
How would Twitter react to that today?
Larry Bird wasn’t a perfect person. He could be a stubborn prick who sometimes rubbed his teammates the wrong way. No one… NO ONE… talked more trash than him on the court. But man, he had every reason to back it up.
I get to appreciate Larry Bird in a way that no stars can be appreciated today. I get to look back on Larry’s career and just bask in the glory that was his career on the court. My enjoyment isn’t marred by some extraneous BS.
Larry was a basketball player. That’s it. He is, as I like to say, in the Hall of Fame’s Hall of Fame. One of the best of the best. On the court, he epitomized everything a basketball player should be: supremely talented, but unsatisfied with it. Insanely intelligent, but thirsting to learn more. The “F-You” attitude he had off the court was what fueled the “F-You, you’re not beating me” attitude on it.
I miss Larry Bird. I miss the ridiculous things he did on the court. But maybe more than anything, I miss those times.
I know. It sounds like I’m biting the hand that feeds me. It’s the same internet, social media culture that allows me to even do this. I recognize that. And hell, I love being a part of it. But what I hate is the dark side of people that it fosters.
I guess I have to take the good with the bad and just accept the fact that I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy it while it existed. If today’s world is a Kindle, Larry Bird is the weathered original copy of “A Catcher In The Rye” sitting on some mahogany bookshelf somewhere. The Kindle is cool and awesome, but there’s something about that old book. It’s more than just heavy cardboard protecting fragile pages. It symbolizes something.
I don’t pine for the past. I don’t want it all to come back like some rickety old man scowling at the neighborhood kids from the front lawn. I just miss it. Like I miss Larry Bird… a symbol of the NBA’s golden age. A true Celtic hero who will forever be raising his finger in celebration before the shot falls in my head.