am 30. September 1999
The heart and soul of a champion: his life, his career, and his game. To understand basketball, you have to understand Larry Bird. Arguably the greatest all-around player the game has ever known, he led the Boston Celtics from the basement to three world championships, collecting three NBA Most Valuable Player awards along the way. Yet, despite these massive accomplishments, Bird has rarely talked to the press, and much about the man has remained a mystery. Now in Drive, the long-silent superstar sets the record straight, revealed a side of himself, and of basketball, you've never see before. Larry Bird grew up in the small town of French Lick, Indiana. His family was not very well off. Infact, they would occasionally stay at his grandmother's home. When Larry was twelve he found that he had a God-given ability to play basketball. He knew he was blessed and knew he had to do something about it. Everyday Larry would practice, practice, practice. Shooting foul shots, threes, it didn't matter, he just love the game. Even when he broke his ankle he would still shoot free throws every day. Larry's father committed suicide when Larry was still young. This broke his heart, but he knew his father did what he thought was best for the family. Bird was a celebrity on his High School basketball team in French Lick. The population of the town was only 2,100, but 4,000 people attended his last HS game. After high school he enrolled at Indiana, but never played, dropping out and then hitch-hiking home. He waited a year to be eligible to play at Indiana State. He brought respectability to the Indiana State program which ended in losing to Magic Johnson's Michigan State team in the NCAA Tournament Title Game in 1979. Larry left Indiana State with a career scoring average of better than 30 points a game, fifth all-time in NCAA history, and a 3-year school record of 81-13. Larry was named the 1978-79 Sporting News Player of the Year and won the Naismith and Wooden Awards. He was the number six pick in the 1978 draft by Boston, as a junior, but he joined the team a year later, because he chose to stay in school for his last year of eligibility. His stellar play in his first year led to his Rookie of the Year selection in 1980.
We all remember his ability to hit the remarkable shot and don't forget his commercials with Michael Jordan where he makes the unbelievable shots. NBA players probably still have nightmares of his smooth jumper that would fall with deadly accuracy from ten feet or twenty feet. There may never be another with such a consistent sweet stroke. However, the legendary Celtic charm could not jump. He was slow, uncoordinated, but if you gave him a locomotive to pull he could do it for you. I'm not saying he was buff or strong or anything, I just mean he was a workhorse. He would not give up. Bird's all-time stats are an impressive: 21,791 points (11th. all-time), 1,556 steals (8th all-time), 0.886 FT Percentage (fourth all-time), 8,974 rebounds, 5,965 assists and 897 games played. He has a career 24.3 scoring average to lead the Celtics all-time list. Larry Bird was a successful player due both to talent and hard work. He was usually the first Celtic to arrive on game day when he would practice hitting jump shots for hours from everywhere on the floor, including dozens of free throws. This effort and ethic of work that he showed is an example I would like to follow. After reading this book I thought to myself, am I going to play varsity this year, and I going to achieve this goal and be able to dunk on DEC. 20 this year. Birdman has gone from a small town gangly country boy to an impressive person and player. The time he put in, the commitment he showed to his team. He played his entire career with the Celtics. This shows me how a player should be, faithful to your duties, contracts, and other commitments. He didn't just give up on basketball after his marks forced him to drop out, he prevailed and continued basketball and then went to college.
As his marks were so poor this shows me another basic fundamental to make it far in basketball, grades. Although my goals say I will play at college level, I will never be able to achieve this without the proper grades to do so. Academics are a very important part of my future.
This book is and awesome book in which I give five stars to. It was well worth my time to read and I hope to read it over again. It has inspired me to do my best and anything is possible if you work hard enough for it