A former member of a military sniper team that went on to become the top-ranked rifle shooter in history says he nearly quit shooting because it was so difficult.

'We Didn't Know Whether to Keep Shooting or Just to End Practice'

Consider what it would be like to play in the NBA. Imagine this: In the midst of a practice, the guy who has the authority to trade or release you walks onto the court and begins raining jumpers in from every corner. Isn’t that going to be a very chaotic scene? Larry Bird, for example, put on a show for the Indiana Pacers’ players.

Bird had a flare for the theatrical throughout his career, and he enjoyed putting on a show in the 3-Point Contest. Even as an executive, Larry Legend did so, with former Pacer and current Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George recounting an occasion when Larry Legend surprised Pacers players during a practice.

Larry Bird worked in the Pacers’ front office for over 15 years.

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Almost every basketball fan is familiar with Larry Bird’s illustrious tenure with the Boston Celtics. Many people will remember his short tenure as the Pacers’ head coach. However, people may forget how long Bird worked as a front-office employee in Indiana.

The Hick from French Lick worked for the Pacers for over 15 years as an executive. In 2012, he was elected NBA Executive of the Year, making him the only individual in league history to win MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year all in the same year.

With Bird in charge, the Pacers never won a championship. He did, however, assist in the development of the “Big 3,” the Miami Heat’s most fearsome opponent in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers, driven by emerging star Paul George and defensive great Roy Hibbert, took the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013 and battled them for six games the following season.

During Bird’s tenure, the Pacers only missed the playoffs five times. He was effective in orchestrating the transfers from Reggie Miller to Jermaine O’Neal to Danny Granger to George.

Larry Legend knows how to run a successful business. If any of the other players on the team had any doubts, they would have vanished after seeing one of his shooting performances.

Bird made 15 consecutive shots during one Pacers session, according to Paul George.

Former Indiana Pacers Team President Larry Bird watches Game 3 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals

Former Indiana Pacers Team President Larry Bird watches Game 3 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals During Game 3 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals, Larry Bird watches on | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

During Larry Legend’s coaching days, former Pacers forward Jalen Rose referred to Bird as “God.” Players on Indiana’s roster in the early 2010s were undoubtedly in the same boat.

When Bird began nonchalantly hoisting jumpers in the midst of a workout, Paul George and the Pacers couldn’t believe their eyes. They didn’t know what to do when their general manager departed the gym the next day.

During a 2013 interview with Slam Magazine, George recalled how stunned he was when he saw a 50-year-old Bird hit 15 straight shots.

“A rolled-over ball was scooped up by [Bird].” He just rolled up his sleeves and made around 15 in a succession before walking out as if nothing had occurred. It was the most bizarre sight I’d ever seen.”

–Paul George, via Slam Magazine, 2013

George’s colleagues were as surprised as he was. He said that the whole crew was bewildered, and that they were debating whether or not they should continue shooting.

“We couldn’t say anything. We couldn’t decide whether to keep filming or call it a day. “Man, that was nice.”

–Paul George, through Slam, in 2013.

The casualness with which the entire affair is handled is classic Bird. The former Celtics great always managed to make a statement, whether he wanted to spew trash or let his talent speak for itself.

A more well-known shooting competition

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrE NeoQQEY

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Larry Bird was certain that he would win the 1988 3-Point Shootout. In the locker room before the competition, he informed his other competitors as much.

Bird wowed Chicago spectators with spectacular theatrics, winning the tournament by hitting the game’s last shot and doing it without ever taking off his warmup jacket. Even all-time greats like Michael Jordan, who claimed he felt terrible for participants shooting after Bird, were moved by the scene.

Bird’s incredible confidence and shooting touch were on display at the time, attributes he shared with Pacers players over 25 years after his legendary victory.

Bird is no longer associated with the NBA. Even today, George and a slew of others can probably advise against challenging him to a shooting match.

RELATED: John Stockton Refused to Be a Part of Michael Jordan’s “Puff Piece,” but He Had No Problem Telling a False Story About Larry Bird

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