Larry Bird’s incredible resume and transcendent aura prompted his own players to call him a “God” when he coached the Pacers. He won three NBA titles as a player and five as a coach, but it was his success as an executive that really cemented his legacy.
Larry Bird is one of the most successful coaches in NBA history. His resume includes winning three championships, two MVP awards, and 11 All-Star game appearances. He is also known for his transcendent aura that prompted his own players to call him a God when he coached the Pacers.
During his playing career with the Boston Celtics, Larry Bird created a near-impeccable legacy and defined an entire era of basketball. His transcendent aura was so strong that when he switched from playing to coaching, his teammates praised him as a God-like figure.
Bird only coached in Indiana for three years. But those were three seasons that will live in infamy. Jalen Rose, the former Indiana Pacers swingman, can attest to this.
When Jalen Rose took over as head coach of the Celtics in 1997, he called Larry Bird a “God.”
After excelling at the University of Michigan, Jalen Rose struggled to get his NBA career off the ground. Rose never got along with Denver Nuggets management, despite making the All-First team in his rookie season and improving his performance in his second season.
When Rose was dealt to the Indiana Pacers in June 1996, Larry Brown didn’t make matters any easy for the former Fab Five member. In only 66 games, the Detroit native experienced a significant rise in minutes.
Rose seemed to be in a holding pattern. However, after a 39-43 season, the Pacers decided to make a coaching change that had him nearly foaming at the mouth.
In the 1997-98 season, Indiana hired Larry Bird to replace Brown. The relocation energized Rose, but Larry Legend’s presence nearly overwhelmed him.
“You have a lot of respect for Larry Bird, therefore this is an honor for you. We’ve seen him perform, and you’ve seen what he’s done for basketball in the NBA. His words are as if they were spoken by a basketball God. I was more interested in looking at him than in listening to what he was saying.”
-Jalen Rose, via The Associated Press, 1997
Rose’s judgment of Bird as a “God” was probably accurate.
As he prepared to take over a Pacers team that had missed the playoffs in 1997, the Hick from French Lick had virtually no coaching experience. Despite this, Indiana got it to the Eastern Conference Finals in his first season on the bench, defeating Michael Jordan and a dominating Bulls squad in seven games. The early success was just a foreshadowing of what was to come.
Bird had a significant impact on the Pacers during his brief tenure as head coach.
On June 1, 1999, in Indianapolis, Indiana, Indiana Pacers head coach Larry Bird looks on during a game versus the New York Knicks at Market Square Arena | Vincent Laforet/Getty Images
Before Larry Brown’s hiccup season in 1996-97, the Pacers enjoyed a very lengthy winning streak. Larry Bird, on the other hand, cranked things up a notch.
Bird led the Pacers to a 58-win season in his first season as head coach. Most NBA observers expected Jordan and the Bulls to breeze past Indiana, but Bird and his team pushed Chicago to its limits. Larry Legend set the bar higher.
Bird, according to Rose, saw it as a challenge to maximize his teammates’ potential. Jalen, who started all 80 of his games and averaged a career-high 18.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.0 assists during the 1999-2000 season, embodied this sentiment.
Bird led the Pacers to the NBA Finals in 2000 thanks to his ability to get the best out of his players. Despite the fact that Indiana lost in six games, it was obvious that this was a legitimate contender.
Bird’s coaching career, on the other hand, came to an end nearly as quickly as it started. He quit before the start of the 2000-01 season, keeping his commitment to only coach for three seasons. Bird, on the other hand, had one more basketball endeavor in him.
Larry Legend’s imprints may be seen across the NBA.
Larry Bird accomplished almost every feat conceivable in the sport of basketball.
With his all-around style of play, the former Celtics great inspired many forwards who came after him, earning him a spot in the Hall of Fame. He had a lot of success as a head coach, even if it was just for a brief period. Bird was also a successful executive.
Bird joined the Pacers’ front office in 2003 and was named Executive of the Year in 2011-12. To summarize, Larry Bird is a three-time NBA MVP. He received a Coach of the Year Award, followed by an Executive of the Year Award.
In essence, Bird ticked every conceivable box on the floor, the bench, and the luxury boxes. Indeed, a basketball “God.”
Basketball Reference provided the statistics and honors.
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Larry Bird is an American basketball player who played for the Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, and the San Antonio Spurs. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. Reference: is larry bird married.