Larry Bird had something unexpected happen during a game. The future hall-of-famer was handed a note, shook his head and spurned history with one action: “That’s not why I play.”
Larry Bird was delivering a note during a game, shaking his head, and spurning history. “That’s not why I play”, he said.
The Boston Celtics were a powerhouse in 1985, but the Utah Jazz were only getting started. The Celtics had just defeated the rival Los Angeles Lakers in the 1984 NBA Finals, and Larry Bird had just won his first of three consecutive MVP awards.
On February 18, 1985, the game proceeded as planned. The Celtics went to Utah and led 34-10 after one quarter, putting the Jazz on the back foot for the rest of the game. Bird was given a message while on the bench during the game. He just shook his head and replied, “Thank you, but no.”
During the 1984-85 NBA season, Boston Celtics great Larry Bird was at the pinnacle of his career.
On April 14, 2019, during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series between the Celtics and the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, Boston Celtics great Larry Bird greets the audience. | Getty Images/Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald
With Bird at the helm, the Celtics dominated the early and mid-1980s. The Celtics defeated the Houston Rockets in the 1981 NBA Finals in his second season with the franchise. They were back in the championship series three years later. From 1984 through 1987, the Celtics appeared in the Finals every year.
Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish together produced probably the finest frontcourt in NBA history, winning three championships. During their championship run in the mid-80s, Boston’s starting five had four Hall of Famers. Bird was the most talented of the bunch, receiving his first MVP award in 1983-84.
Bird struggled with his shooting during the 1985-86 season because of a back issue.
According to the Sun Sentinel in December 1985, Bird said, “There’s no doubt that I’m suffering.” “I’m sure I’m missing layups and baskets that I typically make beneath.” But I’ve had to put in a lot of effort. I don’t have the same abilities as a lot of the other gamers.”
He came back to win his third consecutive MVP award and his third title.
Bird was a 12-time NBA All-Star during his 13-year career in the league. He averaged 24.3 points and 10.0 rebounds throughout the course of his career. In 1998, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrined the 1980 Rookie of the Year.
In 1985, Larry Bird passed up an opportunity to create history against the Utah Jazz.
According to the Deseret News, Bird outscored the whole Jazz squad in the first quarter of the 1985 game in Utah, prompting then-Jazz coach Frank Layden to declare, “Forget Boston, let’s defeat Bird.”
Because Stockton was still in his first season, Utah hadn’t yet reached the John Stockton/Karl Malone era. The next year, Malone joined.
The Jazz entered the game with a record of 25-28, while the Celtics had a record of 43-11. Boston, led by Bird, seized command from the start. The Celtics led 90-68 entering the fourth quarter, and Bird had already recorded a triple-double with 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. In addition, he recorded nine thefts.
With such combination, no player in league history has ever had a quadruple-double. According to the Deseret News, the NBA’s first quadruple-double was achieved by Nate Thurmond in 1974. Thurmond’s stat line included points, rebounds, assists, and blocked shots.
The stats team sent a message to Celtics coach K.C. Jones, who gave it to Bird on the bench. The Celtics’ star shook his head and sat on the bench the whole season. He let the 12 minutes go by without attempting to set a new record.
After the game, media gathered Bird to inquire about his decision to forego the once-in-a-lifetime achievement.
“I don’t play for that,” he said.
While Bird received the most of the attention, he was the consummate team player.
After Game 7 of the NBA Finals in Boston on June 12, 1984, Boston Celtics players Larry Bird and Quinn Buckner celebrate the team’s NBA victory in the locker room. The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games. #OnThisDay pic.twitter.com/FaK2z9aSEU John Blanding/Globe Staff via archives
June 12, 2018 — Joshua Miller (@jm bos)
Bird was a consummate professional in his approach to the game. He didn’t need any more entries in the books. Basketball was a team sport for Larry Legend, and he was never comfortable with solo accolades.
Bird questioned the amount of attention he got from the media at times.
According to The Los Angeles Times, he stated about the media, “I was never particularly uncomfortable with them.” “It was simply that everyone wanted to speak with me instead of the men I was playing with.” They, too, put forth a lot of effort. They are deserving of some sweets.”
His focus, on the other hand, was well-deserved. Bird turned around a faltering Celtics team and converted it into a dominating force in the 1980s.
After having surgery on both heels, he was restricted to six games in his only year without being named to the All-Star team. He rebounded with another All-Star season in 1989-90, averaging 24.3 points and 9.5 rebounds.
Back issues impeded his final two years, the only thing that slowed him down throughout his successful career.
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Larry Bird was handed a note during a game, shook his head, and said, “That’s Not Why I Play.” The post Larry Bird Was Delivered a Note During a Game, Shook His Head, and Spurned History appeared first on Sportscasting – Pure Sports.
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