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NavigationLarry Bird: 33Navigation

Continued from previous page

Jan. 11, 1985
With a 33-point effort in a 103-101 win over the Bullets, Bird goes over 10,000 career points.
     Feb. 18, 1985
In just three quarters of a 110-94 win at Utah, registers a triple-double of 30 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. He also has nine steals, but with Boston ahead 90-66 declines to re-enter the game in the fourth quarter to try for a quadruple-double. "I already did enough damage," he would say afterward. "Why go for it if we're up by 30?"
March 12, 1985
Just nine days after Kevin McHale broke his previous team record with a 56-point outing against the Pistons, Bird goes off for 60 (22-36 FG, 15-16 FT) in a 126-115 win over the Hawks in New Orleans, hitting a jumper from the right elbow at the final buzzer. His best shot is a turnaround banker from just in front of the Atlanta bench that doesn't count (he had been fouled)—but it sends several Hawks tumbling out of their seats, laughing in disbelief. "It's Kevin's own fault," Bird says. "He should have gone for 60 that day, and I told him that."
     June 3, 1985
Wins second straight league MVP award following a 28.7-point, 10.5-rebound, 6.6-assist campaign.
Feb. 8, 1986
Wins inaugural long-distance shootout at All-Star Weekend, besting Chicago's Craig Hodges 22-12 in the final. Before the competition he enters the locker room, surveys the other contestants and asks, "All right, who's playing for second?"
     June 2, 1986
Joins Bull Russell (1961-63) and Wilt Chamberlain (1966-68) as the only players in NBA history to win three consecutive MVP awards. Averaged 25.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.0 steals during the season.
June 8, 1986
Celtics capture championship No. 16 with a 114-97 win over the Rockets in Game 6 at the Garden, as Bird posts a triple-double of 29 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. He is named Finals MVP after averaging 25.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.2 assists in the playoffs.
     Feb. 7, 1987
Wins second straight long-distance shootout at All-Star Weekend, hitting his final two shots to beat Detlef Schrempf of Dallas 16-14.
April 1, 1987
Achieves a triple-double by halftime of a 103-86 win over the Bullets—17 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists. Finishes with 30, 17, and 15. "He's playing in his own league," then-Washington coach Kevin Loughery would say. "Maybe it's a league other guys can't get to."
     April 19, 1987
Ends the regular season shooting 52.5% from the field and 91.0% from the line, becoming the first player in NBA history to finish above 50/90 in one season. He would duplicate the feat a year later.
May 26, 1987
Makes maybe the most famous play of his career with the Celtics down by one in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Detroit. Bird steals the inbounds pass from Isiah Thomas with five seconds left and feeds Dennis Johnson for the game-winning layup. Final: 108-107, Celtics.
     May 30, 1987
After Bird closes out the Pistons with 37 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in a 117-114 Game 7 victory, Thomas utters these infamous words: ''I think Larry is a very, very good basketball player, an exceptional talent. But I'd have to agree with [Dennis] Rodman. If he was black, he'd be just another good guy.'' Bird's response: ''This isn't Russia. You can say what you want.''
Nov. 11, 1987
Completes the first 40-20 game in Celtics history, dominating the Pacers for 42 points and 22 rebounds in a 120-106 win.
     Feb. 6 1988Feb. 6, 1988
Wins third and final All-Star Weekend long-distance shootout, this time defeating Dale Ellis of the Sonics 17-15. Needing to hit his last three shots, he does so, raising his right index finger signaling No. 1 with the last ball still in the air.
April 24, 1988
Finishes the regular season at 29.9 points per game, the highest of his career. Also averages 9.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists, shooting 52.7% from the field and 91.6% from the line.
     May 22, 1988
Engages in classic fourth-quarter shootout with Hawks' Dominique Wilkins in Game 7 of Eastern Conference semis. Hits nine of 10 shots and scores 20 points to Wilkins' 16 in the final 12 minutes of Celtics' 118-116 win (though 'Nique finished with 47 to Bird's 34). ''The fourth quarter," McHale would say, "was like two people standing at arm's length and punching each other."
Nov. 19, 1988
After playing the first six games in extreme discomfort, Bird elects to have surgery to remove bone spurs from both heels. Misses the rest of the season as the Celtics finish 42-40, the team's worst record since the season before Bird joined the club.
     Sept. 30, 1989
Marries longtime girlfriend Dinah Mattingly, whom he met when both were students at Indiana State. The couple will adopt two children: son Connor and daughter Mariah.
Nov. 3, 1989
In his return to NBA action, scores 32 points in 33 minutes as Celtics beat Bucks 127-114 to open the season.
     Nov. 10, 1989
Playing just his fourth game since heel surgery, Bird scorches the Hawks for 50 in a 117-106 victory, hitting 19 of 25 shots in 39 minutes.
Feb. 13, 1990
In a game at Houston, with Calvin Murphy in attendance, Bird misses a free throw to end his streak at 71 straight, seven shy of Murphy's then-NBA record.
     Nov. 14, 1990
Collects 5,000th assist of his career in a 135-126 win over the Hornets.
Nov. 30, 1990
Scores the 20,000th point of his career in a 123-95 win over the Bullets.
     Jan. 8, 1991
Misses first of 14 straight games with back injury.
April 6, 1991
More back woes cause Bird to sit out another seven games (he would return for the season finale).
     April 26, 1991
Following the Celtics' 127-120 playoff-opening win over the Pacers, back pain becomes so severe that Bird spends the night in traction at New England Baptist Hospital.
May 5, 1991
Dives to the floor midway through second quarter of Game 5 of series against Pacers and slams his head against the parquet. Does not warm up with the rest of the team at halftime, but comes out of the locker room to a standing ovation early in the third quarter and finishes with 32 points as the Celtics eliminate Indiana 124-121.
     June 7, 1991
Has surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back that is compressing a nerve root.
Nov. 1, 1991
Five months after back surgery, Bird plays 39 minutes in the 111-108 season-opening win over Charlotte. He finishes with 23 points (7-20 FG), seven rebounds and six assists.
     March 15, 1992
In his last great performance, Bird hits a leaning three-pointer to send the game into overtime and finishes with 49 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists in 54 minutes as Celtics beat Trail Blazers 152-148 in double OT on national television.
May 17, 1992
Celtics lose Game 7 of Eastern Conference semifinals to Cavaliers, 122-104, as Bird plays what would be his final NBA game. His line: 12 points (6-for-9 FG), five rebounds, four assists in 33 minutes. "I'll decide in September," Bird tells reporters about his future. "Just put your phone numbers in a box outside, and I'll call you to let you know."
     Aug. 18, 1992Aug. 18, 1992
Ten days after winning a gold medal in Barcelona as a member of the original Dream Team, Bird announces his retirement. He finished his career with 21,791 points, 8,974 rebounds and 5,695 assists.
Feb. 4, 1993
In an unprecendented move, the Celtics hold Larry Bird Night at the Garden—with no game scheduled—to celebrate Bird's career and retire his number. Scalpers would get as much as $400 for coveted tickets. The 2 1/2-hour event is emceed by Bob Costas and features video highlights and personal testimony from former teammates and past Celtics greats. Magic Johnson also makes an appearance, revealing a Celtics T-shirt underneath his Lakers warmups.
     Oct. 8, 1996
Georgia Bird dies of Lou Gehrig's disease at age 66.
Aug. 12, 1997May 12, 1997
Frustrated with his largely ceremonial duties as special assistant to Celtics owner Paul Gaston, Bird begins to pursue other options. On this date, he is introduced as head coach of the Indiana Pacers, signing a five-year, $22.5 million deal four days after the Celtics name Rick Pitino coach and president. "I wanted to be involved," Bird says. "I wanted to be out there being competitive every night."
     Feb. 8, 1998
With the Pacers off to an Eastern Conference-best 33-13 start, Bird coaches the East to a 135-114 win in the All-Star Game, behind MVP Michael Jordan's 23 points. "Give it to Michael and get out of the way," Bird says. "That's the way it usually happens."
May 12, 1998
Named NBA Coach of the Year, having led the Pacers to a 58-24 record, the best in franchise history. He is the fourth first-year coach to win the honor, joining Harry Gallatin (1962-63), Johnny Kerr ('66-67) and Mike Schuler ('86-87).
     June 29, 1998
Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Along with Hawks coach Lenny Wilkens, Harlem Globetrotter Marques Haynes, longtime NBA/ABA coach Alex Hannum, 13-year NBA veteran Arnie Risen, University of Texas women's coach Jody Conradt and European coach Aleksandar Nikolic, he will be inducted into the Hall, in Springfield, Mass., on Oct. 2.
Text by Albert Lin
Photos by (top to bottom): Walter Iooss Jr., David Walberg, Mathew Stockman/ALLSPORT

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