Larry Bird

American basketball player and coach (born 1956)

Larry Joe Bird (born December 7, 1956) is a retired American NBA basketball player, widely considered one of the best players of all time and one of the top clutch performers in the history of sports. Drafted into the NBA sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in 1979, Bird started at small forward and power forward for thirteen seasons, teaming with legendary center Robert Parish and forward Kevin McHale. Due to back problems, he retired as a player from the NBA in 1992. Bird was voted to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996 and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998. He served as head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000. In 2003, he assumed the role of president of basketball operations for the Pacers, which he currently still holds.

Larry Bird (2004)


  • I have really enjoyed coaching. It's a great experience. Every player should have the chance to do it. The problem is, I'm not that good at it.
    • Peter Vecsey (May 26, 2000) "Looks Like Larry's Indy Mood to Stay", New York Post.
  • Well, I don't worry about ratings. I'm trying to win a ballgame right now. Whatever it takes to win a ballgame, we're going to do it. If it takes a four-hour game, that's what we have to do.
    • Marty McNeal (June 11, 2000) "Bryant: A Game-Day Decision - Magic Had to Convince Him to Stay Out After Friday's Injury", The Sacramento Bee, p. C13.
  • I'm a firm believer in that you play the way you practice.
    • Michael Marot (May 24, 2000) "Pacers Notebook/Pacers Make Turnaround", The Journal Gazette, p. 2B.
  • I've always been interested in jobs in the NBA. But I've been in this for 20 years and it might be time to do something else.
    • Sam Smith (February 14, 2000) "Bird's Flight Path May End at Boston", Chicago Tribune, p. 12.
  • I hate to lose more than I like to win.
  • You can make all the excuses you want, but if you're not mentally tough and you're not prepared to play every night, you're not going to win.
    • Sam Smith (February 17, 1998) "Making a Run From the Border", Chicago Tribune, p. 5.
  • There is nothing better than being out there when the game is on the line; only now, I get to see what my players will do. How will they react? Retirement is fine for some people, but I got bored. I'm used to more of a fast-paced life.
    • Ailene Voisin (February 3, 1998) "Bird on the Bench - Larry the Legend Comes Home, Wins Accolades as Coach", The Sacramento Bee, p. D1.
  • I was always making decisions and they were easier decisions because I had control of the game, I had control of the ball. As a coach you sort of put the ball in other player's hands and let them make decisions for you. But I still get a kick out of winning basketball games and that's what I'm in this for.
    • Ross Atkin (January 29, 1998) "Yes, Great Players Can Make Good Coaches - Larry Bird enjoys immediate success with the Indiana Pacers", Christian Science Monitor, p. 14.
  • I know the rigors of the NBA and what these guys can expect. I know my job is to prepare them, to get them in shape. We'll find a good offense and a good defense. And then let's do it.
    • Bob Ryan (October 31, 1997) "Bird Setting Feverish Pace With Indiana", Boston Globe, p. E1.
  • I wanted to compete at the highest level again - and that's the NBA.
    • Dan Weber (October 30, 1997) "Life Is Still Good For Coach Larry", Post-Tribune, p. C1.
  • When thou was a player, I didn't expect my teammates to play the way I did. I did expect them to work hard hard every day and get better. And I never learned anything by losing.
    • Don Wade (October 18, 1997) "A Bird on the Bench is Worth 12,252 In Roberts Stadium Seats", The Evansville Courier, p. C1.
  • It's unbelievable. But I've never been to a pro football game. I've never been to a pro hockey game, either. I guess I'm not much of a sports fan.
    • Dan Shaughnessy (September 7, 1997) "There'll Be No Bird Watching", Boston Globe, p. D1.
  • I don't miss it at all. I'm glad I'm out.
    • Larry Guest (December 12, 1993) "In Background, A Legend Trying to Restock Celtics", The Orlando Sentinel, p. C1.
  • Basketball has been my life and I worked at it so hard because I enjoyed it so much.
    • Sam Smith (December 25, 1991) "Bird Still Celtics' Main Man - At Age 35, He's Enjoying Basketball More Than Ever", Chicago Tribune, p. 1.


  • Larry Bird is what keeps me going. He's my measuring stick. I don't think I would be as interested in the game if I weren't trying to play better than him.
    • Magic Johnson — reported in Alan Goldstein (February 7, 1988) "Five at the Top of Their Game; Bird, Johnson aren't alone anymore as best players in the NBA", Baltimore Sun, p. 19.
  • Larry is different than people think. He really loves the game and is really smart. He has the innate ability to focus on what's important and has a great feel for players. He knows how to deal with people. He's direct and definite. I think the players appreciate that.
    • Donnie Walsh — reported in Sam Smith (February 8, 2004) "Bird sets fast pace - Hall of Fame player and former coach Larry Bird finds 'every day's exciting' in his first go-around as general manager of the Indiana Pacers", Chicago Tribune, p. 11.
  • The guy has been there. What he tells us is not just what he believes deep down, but what he knows, because he has been through it.
  • Who in their right mind wouldn't listen to what Larry Bird tells them? He knows what it takes to be a successful player, and he's letting us do the things to have the success.
  • It's not what he says, it is how he says it that is making the difference. He doesn't scream at you, he doesn't embarrass you when you make a mistake. He just looks at you, and you get the message. Then when the time is right, he'll talk to you calmly and explain what he wants.
  • Guys like Larry Bird -- he played so hard, he wants everybody else to play hard. That's not unreasonable. Any coach would want that and demand that.
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