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Red's Army

Missing Larry, and what he represents, 20 years later

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) August 17, 2012 Larry Bird, Look Back 7 Comments

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.

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  • Chuck – Red’s Army

    Love this quote from Dave Gavitt:

    “When the definitive history of basketball is written… this man on my right will occupy a special place in the top 5 players ever to play this game.

    I don’t know how any one player could have given anymore to a franchise, to a city, than Larry Bird has given to the Boston Celtics.

    God may have not granted him an all-world body, but from the shoulders to the top of his head, and from his wrist to his fingertips, he played the game better than anybody’s ever played it. And he played it with a heart 5-times bigger than anybody I ever saw.”

  • RedsLoveChild

    For those who did not get to see the first eight years of Bird`s career {1979-87}….you have my sympathy.

  • Lee in Oregon

    That speech is the single greatest moment in Dave Gavitt’s history with the C’s.

    Bird’s retirement is one of those “where were you” moments for me……I remember exactly where I was & what I was doing when the news broke, not that it was any great surprise. He certainly did give his “heart, soul, & body” to the C’s and none of us who watched will ever forget it.

  • greenbeand

    after winning the gold 20 yrs ago (yesterday) larry legend retired for good. his autobiography by bob ryan is a great read http://bit.ly/P3k8tO. it would be nice to see him around more often.

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  • paul

    You just wait until you really are old, son. Then, I promise you, those wistful feelings will sour into crusty, nasty, scowling envy.