Larry Bird was just a high school student when he decided to pursue basketball. It turns out his decision would have been different had he known the level of commitment it took and how long it would take for him to get there. Today, Larry has become one of the greatest players in NBA history despite not having any professional experience before starting with Boston Celtics at age 27.
Larry Bird thought he would be a construction worker instead of a basketball star in high school. However, after his sophomore year, he was discovered by the coach of the varsity team and went on to become one of the best players in history. Read more in detail here: how old was larry bird when he retired.
Larry Bird is widely regarded as one of the all-time great NBA players. Bird seemed to be able to do it all, from his lethal jump shot to his famed trash-talking.
But what if I told you that basketball was not Bird’s first career choice? Larry Bird, on the other hand, aspired to be… a construction worker?
Bird’s job decision was obviously on his mind, even if it wasn’t a dream for him.
“I was thinking about doing some construction work,” Bird said. “It’s a lot of effort.” It’s arduous labor. But I like it that way. I always planned to go into construction if things didn’t work out.”
Bird said this in a December 2015 interview with Indianapolis Monthly.
It’s hard to imagine Bird considered anything other than basketball as a profession, but he did. Let’s go back in time to the autumn of 1974 in French Lick, Indiana.
Bird drew the attention of numerous institutions after a strong final year in high school basketball.
When you looked at Bird’s basketball numbers, it was clear. Bird averaged almost 31 points and 21 rebounds per game as a senior at Springs Valley High School. Springs Valley finished with a 21-4 record under his leadership.
Bird signed with coach Bobby Knight and the famed Indiana Hoosiers after graduating from high school.
To play for the Indiana Hoosiers was the desire of every high school basketball player in the state. So, Bird had to be overjoyed, right?
Well, not quite. Something occurred to Bird during the summer before he started at Indiana University.
Bird was a member of the Indiana Boys All-Star squad, which competed in an annual series against Kentucky.
During those summer games, you’d believe Bird was the star of the all-stars, but that was not the case.
During the games, Bird didn’t get much playing time. Bird was so outraged by this that he refused to participate in a game for meaningless minutes in a blowout on two occasions.
Bird’s personal situation deteriorated worse. His parents split, upsetting their usual family dynamic.
Bird only stayed at Indiana University for 24 days when the school year began. Bird went before the basketball team had even practiced.
Bird was from a little village of approximately 2000 people, and the prospect of attending a school with a student body of 33,000 was too much for her.
Bird didn’t tell anybody, including his parents, that he had dropped out of school. He needed to go home, so he hitchhiked 50 miles south to French Lick.
Bird enrolled at a tiny local junior college but dropped out soon after.
Bird went on to work for the Street Department after that. He trimmed grass, painted benches, striped streets, and drove a trash truck, among other things.
Bird’s basketball career was ended, and he assumed he’d wind up in construction.
“They had me teaching special needs students at a high school while I was at [Indiana] State, finishing up my degree.” That was a difficult task. “It made me appreciate those who do that,” Bird remarked.
“I assumed I’d end up as a concrete pourer in the construction industry.” I wasn’t very excellent in shop in school, but I’d worked in the construction industry. In basketball, all I wanted to do was be the greatest player on my high school squad.”
Bird opted to return to college and basketball in 1975, this time with the tiny Indiana State University.
Bird remembers talking to his colleagues before quitting his job as a trash truck driver:
‘I’ll be heading up there to obtain a little schooling,’ I informed them. Then I’ll come back and rule over you.”
Tragically, tragedy struck the same year Bird began his collegiate career at Indiana State University.
Bird’s father took his own life. This Bird is really effective. His father was one of his closest friends and fishing partners.
“I’ve always felt that my father gave up on not just himself, but also on us kids,” Bird said. “I had two younger brothers and a mother at home.” That’s how I saw it back then, and that’s how I see it today. I believe I handled it rather well.”
Basketball was the only thing that took his mind off his father’s death, but Bird was unable to play his freshman year at Indiana State University.
Because he was a transfer student, he had to sit out. During practice, though, Bird took part in scrimmages.
Bob King, his coach, began benching him during scrimmages against the starters.
Bird was so enraged that he climbed over King’s head to protest about being forced to sit out. Bird threatened to resign if he didn’t participate in all of the scrimmages, and after he did, he started participating in all of them.
Bird did play collegiate hoops the next season, and he did well. He scored 32.8 points per game and grabbed 13.3 rebounds per game.
Bird was a fantastic fit for Indiana State’s tiny campus. It aided Bird’s development as a player and as a person.
“I enjoyed the school and had friends there,” Bird added. “It was a tiny school, approximately 12,000 students, and many of them commuted, so there weren’t many on campus.” It was a perfect match for me. It didn’t have anything to do with the team’s players or coaches, since I didn’t know any of them. It was largely the school that was to blame.”
During his three years at Indiana State, Bird led the team to an 81–13 record, including a 33–0 regular season in his final year.
Despite the fact that Bird’s Indiana State fell in the championship game against Magic Johnson’s Michigan State, Bird went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award, three MVP Awards, three NBA championships, and a slew of other honors in the NBA.
It’s hard to believe Larry Bird’s legendary basketball career was virtually non-existent. Bird came close to becoming a construction worker for a brief while.
Bird would have been the most prolific, trash-talking construction worker in French Lick, Indiana history if that had occurred.
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Larry Bird was a basketball star in high school. He thought he would be a construction worker instead of playing professional basketball, but his coach convinced him otherwise. Reference: how many mvps does larry bird have.
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