In Jack McCallum’s book about the 1990-91 Celtics and there are a couple of fantastic stories about Larry Bird.
The first tale involves an aging Legend’s battle with staying in shape:
“I think I wanna be active,” said Bird. “What I might do, though, is git in shape, git outta shape, then git in shape again. I won’t do it like I used to, though. It’s gittin’ tougher. Three years ago I could lose fifteen pounds like nuthin’. Now? I don’t know if I could.” He had put on a few pounds when he was out of action, but he wasn’t sure how many. “I was so bored, I’d set around the house, drive my wife crazy, and eat and eat. In two and a half weeks I was off I ate ten gallons of ice cream and seven weddin’ cakes. Why them? I ate weddin’ cakes ’cause you knew they was gonna be good. I mean, who would [eff] up a weddin’ cake?”
The wedding cake decision is just another genius move by Bird.
The second story is related to his rivalry with the Pacers’ Chuck Person. Remember all the fuss over JR Smith and his $50,000 fine for untying the shoelaces of two opponents? Well, the Knicks dunce wasn’t the first to pull this stunt:
Bird and Person continued their personal battle. At one point when Bird was out of the game and lying on his towel in front of the bench, he reached over and untied Person’s shoelaces as the Pacer waited for a free throw at the other end.
What’s the difference between Bird and JR Smith? Bird wasn’t dumb enough to get caught.
Editor’s note: McCallum’s book has been out for 20+ years. The quotes are getting media attention now because of its launch on Kindle.