Larry Bird retired on August 18,1992 and as Magic Johnson said when Larry's number was retired, there will never, ever be another Larry Bird. I wrote my tribute to Larry on August 2. Lex had several great articles written by the great Bob Ryan about Larry here, here, here, here, here, and here. Grampa Celtic sure does love Larry.
I know there will be many more tributes and articles about Larry this week to commemorate the anniversary of his retirement. Larry was the greatest forward this league has ever seen and watching him was like watching a master work his craft. He was simply amazing. Here's a tidbit from one of Bob Ryan's articles:
Did you know that Larry Bird was the first player since Elgin Baylor who made it a practice to throw the ball off the backboard in order to get it back so he could lay it in? After Bird had done so in a 1982 game against the Bullets (getting himself a 3-point play), one of his teammates was aghast. "You should have heard McHale," laughed Bird. "He said, 'Damn, Larry. It's a close game!' "
And, to the question "Did Larry Bird ever goaltend?" the answer is "Yup." On Feb. 9, 1988, he goaltended an Akeem Olajuwon shot in the course of a 44-point (17-for-27) effort against the Rockets. This is the same Olajuwon he beat in a jump ball in the first quarter of Game 6 during the 1986 Finals. It defied the laws of physics, but Bird did it.
After the Jump are a couple of videos to watch and remember just how good he was.
For Game 6, Bird was clearly in no mood to fool around. Early in the fourth period with the Celtics ahead by 84-61, he searched his arsenal for the final dagger to plunge into the Rockets' heart. Sweeping up the refuse of a half-court play gone bad, Bird, for no apparent reason, began dribbling away from the basket to the far left corner. As the shot clock wound down, he let fly with as arrogant a shot as has ever been hoisted in the playoffs, an I-can-do-anything three-pointer. "Every one I took was on target today," Bird would say later. And so was this one. Game over.