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NavigationLarry Bird: 33Navigation

Dec. 1956Dec. 7, 1956
Larry Joe Bird is born at Bedford (Ind.) Medical Center, the fourth of six children (five boys, one girl) of Joe and Georgia Bird of West Baden, which is adjacent to French Lick. His size at birth—23 inches; 11 pounds, 12 ounces—portends a basketball career.
 
     Dec. 25, 1960
Receives his first basketball for Christmas.
 
Dec. 1971
Two games into the junior-varsity season in his sophomore year at Springs Valley High School, Larry breaks his ankle. Unable to shake the basketball bug, he works on his shooting and passing while recuperating.
 
     March 1973
The 6' 3" Bird completes his first season on the varsity, averaging 16.0 points, 9.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists and leading the Black Hawks to a 19-3 record.
 
March 1974
As a 6' 7" senior, Bird averages 30.6 points, an astounding 20.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists as Springs Valley goes 21-4. Bird's high-school career ends with a 63-58 loss to Bedford in the regional final. Despite his numbers, Bird is only honorable mention all-state.
 
     April 24, 1974
Signs a letter of intent to play basketball for Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers, choosing the Bloomington school over Purdue and Indiana State.
 
Oct. 1974
After just 24 days at IU, Bird hitchhikes back to French Lick. The smalltown boy was overwhelmed by the school's large campus. He would spend the next nine months working as a garbage collector and playing AAU basketball.
 
     Feb. 3, 1975
With Georgia at work on the other end of the phone, Joe Bird, despondent over financial and marital woes (he and Georgia had divorced two years earlier), uses a shotgun to commit suicide.
 
June 1975
Moves to Terre Haute to begin school at Indiana State. He will have to sit out the 1975-76 season as a transfer.
 
     Nov. 8, 1975
Marries hometown sweetheart Janet Condra, whom he has known since first grade.
 
Oct. 31, 1976
Divorces Condra after less than a year of marriage. During a period of reconciliation later in the year, Condra becomes pregnant.
 
     Nov. 27, 1976
Posts a triple-double (31 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists) in his debut with the Sycamores, an 81-60 win over Chicago State. He would average 32.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists in his first season.
 
Aug 14, 1977Aug. 14, 1977
A daughter, Corrie (pictured at left in 1998), is born to ex-wife Condra.
 
     June 9, 1978
Drafted sixth overall as a junior-eligible by the Celtics, behind Mychal Thompson (Portland), Phil Ford (Kansas City), Rick Robey (Indiana), Micheal Ray Richardson (New York), and Purvis Short (Golden State). The NBA would later change the rule to require players to declare their intention to turn pro.
 
March 29, 1979
Leads 33-0 Indiana State to NCAA final, where the Sycamores lose to Magic Johnson-led Michigan State 75-64. Bird is held to 19 points (7-21 FG), with 13 rebounds, two assists and six turnovers. He had already been named player of the year by virtually every outlet, and would finish his senior season averaging 28.6 points, 14.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.5 steals.
 
     April 29, 1979
The night after his No. 33 is retired, Bird takes the field to help publicize the Sycamores baseball program. In the opener of a doubleheader against Kentucky Wesleyan, he comes in to play first base in the fifth inning and strikes out in his only at bat. He then starts at first in the second game, driving in two runs with a single in the first inning. He is removed after three innings, finishing his college baseball career 1-for-2 with two RBIs and nine putouts. "Would Larry make it in baseball?" ISU coach Bob Warn wondered. "That's hard to say, but he certainly has a lot of athletic ability and it would have to be proved to me he couldn't make it."
 
May 1979
Breaks his right index finger in a softball game, resulting in a permanently bent digit.
 
     June 8, 1979
Signs a five-year, $3.25 million contract with the Celtics shortly before he would've reentered the NBA Draft. At the time, it was the largest rookie contract in sports history.
 
Oct. 12, 1979
Makes NBA debut in a 114-108 win over the Houston Rockets at Boston Garden. In 28 minutes he scores 14 points (6-12 FG, 2-2 FT), with 10 rebounds and five assists.
 
     Nov. 23, 1979
Records the first of his 69 (including playoffs) career triple-doubles—a 23-point, 19-rebound, 10-assist effort in a 115-111 win against Detroit.
 
May 29, 1980
Named NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists, and leading the Celtics to a then-record 32-game improvement (29-53 to 61-21). Also is named to the All-Rookie Team and first-team All-NBA; finishes third in MVP voting.
 
     Jan. 2, 1981
Held scoreless in a 121-106 loss at Golden State—his first shutout since junior high. His 0-for-9 performance becomes known as "eight bricks and a block."
 
May 1981May 5, 1981
Makes one of his most famous shots in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, a 98-95 Celtics win over the Rockets in which he finishes with 18 points and 21 rebounds. After missing a jumper from the right wing, he swoops to the baseline, jumps to grab the rebound, and in one motion switches the ball to his left hand and floats it into the basket as he's drifting out of bounds.
 
     May 14, 1981
Leads Celtics to the first of three NBA championships, scoring 27 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in a 102-91 Game 6 win over the Rockets. Houston cuts a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to three on three different occasions, but Bird hits a three-pointer with 1:36 remaining to put the Rockets away.
 
Jan. 31, 1982
Named MVP of the All-Star Game for the only time in 12 appearances. Scored 19 points, with 12 rebounds and five assists in the Eastern Conference's 120-118 win.
 
     March 30, 1983
Breaks Sam Jones's 18-year-old team regular-season single-game scoring record (51) with a 53-point outburst (21-30 FG, 11-11 FT) in a 142-116 rout of the Pacers—one night after Boston got crushed 130-101 at Indiana. Sets a since-tied Celtics record with 24 points in the third quarter.
 
Feb. 16, 1984
Hands out a career-high 17 assists in a 125-115 win at Golden State. It's the second highest one-game total by a forward in NBA history (Rick Barry dished 19 in 1976).
 
     june 12, 1984June 12, 1984
Celtics win their 15th NBA Championship with a 111-102 win over the Lakers in Game 7 at the Garden. Bird is named Finals MVP after averaging 27.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals in the playoffs.
 
June 25, 1984
Named league MVP for the first time, having averaged 24.2 points, 10.1 rebounds and 6.6 assists during the season.
 
     Nov. 9, 1984
The celebrated scuffle with Julius Erving breaks out when a frustrated Dr. J goes after Bird in the third quarter. At the time of their ejections, Bird had outscored Erving 42-6, shooting 17-for-23 to the Doctor's 3-for-13.
 
Text by Albert Lin
Photos by (top to bottom): Courtesy of L.V. Smith, Donna Ferrato, Andy Hayt, Jerry Wachter

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