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“I Saw Larry Bird’s Picture and Was Like ‘Damn'”: Hall of Fame Coach Recalled 9 Years Ago Being Flabbergasted at Celtics Legend’s Appearance

Hitesh Nigam

"I Saw Larry Bird's Picture And Said 'Damn'": Hall Of Fame Coach Recalled 9 Years Ago Being Flabbergasted at Celtics Legend's Appearance

Larry Bird is surely a name that resonates with the word ‘legend’ and his aura and stature were the talk of the towns. One of the fans of Bird, who was impressed by his skillset and stature, is Hall of Famer Coach Nolan Richardson. While delivering his HOF induction speech in 2014, Richardson narrated an instance about the Celtics legend and how he was completely awestruck when he first saw Bird.

Furthermore, Richardson’s career as a coach was most well-known for his stint at the University of Arkansas. He took his team to winning the 1994 NCAA Division I Men’s championship and became the winningest coach in the history of the University.

Nolan Richardson once narrated an interesting story about Larry Bird

In a heartfelt moment, during the induction speech, Richardson narrated an instance when he was driving and listening to a game between New Mexico State and Indiana State. He was evidently impressed by just listening to what Larry Bird was doing on the court while playing for Indiana. Richardson said,

“I never forget, I am driving and I am listening to a game. It’s New Mexico State vs Indiana State, now, I don’t really care about the game but Nex Mexico State is right up the street from El Paso and I went to UTEP and we’re big rivalries so I am hoping that Indiana State will beat New Mexico. And I am listening to the radio, I have no clue of the players on either team. All of a sudden, this name keeps coming, “Bird”…..”

Adding to this, Richardson was impressed by the game “this Bird guy” was putting up on the court. However, going by the general belief in the league, the coach might have made a mental image of how such a talented basketball player could look like. However, he remembered opening the newspaper the other day and exclaiming in shock,

“When I got the newspaper the next morning and I saw Larry [Bird]’s picture, and was like ‘Damn’.”

Bird played for Indiana State University between 1976 and 1979, where he had a successful stint taking the team to the NCAA tournament first time in the school’s history. The team led by the two-time NBA finals MVP played against Magic Johnson’s Michigan State in 1979 for the championship.

Moreover, the game achieved the highest-ever TV rating for a college basketball game. After three championship-winning stints with the Boston Celtics, Bird was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998, 16 years before Nolan Richardson.

LaVar Ball once claimed that Larry Bird was undermined because he was white

It has been an ongoing discussion, particularly in the NBA, that the league demands a tough physique and sturdy build resonating the same with people of color. Adding to this narrative, the father of Bulls guard Lonzo Ball, LaVar Ball, once claimed that Bird, despite his multitude of accolades, was not respected by several players in the league just because of his skin color.

However, there have been several players who have proved this wrong including Larry Bird. However, LaVar Ball still thought that the Bird was undermined by players just because “he was white”. This was following the statement of Dennis Rodman where he said that Bird would be playing in the European league, in the current era.

Moreover, Bird was untouchable when he was at his peak and posed a tough guard against his opponents, often with his trash talks too. He was well known for his trash-talking amongst his contemporaries in the league.

About the author

Hitesh Nigam

Hitesh Nigam


Hitesh Nigam is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. As a Post-graduate in Journalism and an enthusiastic sports lover, Nigam combines his skills to chunk out informative and interesting content. He found his love in Basketball as a schoolboy after witnessing the greatness of LBJ. As a State-level Basketball player, Nigam is well aware of the on-field intricacies. He is a hardcore LA Lakers fan and loves the playstyle of their SG, Austin Reaves. Apart from NBA, Nigam loves watching and analyzing NFL matches.

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