Today in Sports History: October 12

In 1979, former professional basketball player, Larry Bird, made his debut as a Boston Celtic power forward.

Bird played for Boston from 1979 until 1992, when he retired as a Celtic. Bird is a 3-time NBA Champion, 3-time NBA MVP, 12-time NBA All-Star, 9-time All-NBA First Team, 3-time 3-point Shootout Champion, and the 1980 NBA Rookie of the Year. He held 27 Celtic records and won three championships with Boston in 1981, 1984, and 1986. 

He was also a member of the “Dream Team,” for Team USA men’s basketball that won a gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

He retired with 897 games played, 21,791 points scored, 8,974 rebounds, and 5,695 assists. After taking a couple of years off from the league, in 1997, Bird was named head coach of the Indiana Pacers. He was named the Coach of the Year in 1997-98 for bringing the Pacers to the conference final game but was defeated.

Bird was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998 for his incredible career and achievements, and his jersey number, 33, was retired and raised in The TD Garden. 

In 2000, Bird brought the Pacers back to the finals. He resigned the following year and focused more on the executive side of basketball. He joined the Pacers executive team as the team’s president of operations in 2003 and helped the Pacers end the four-year playoff drought in the 2010-11 season. In 2012, he won the NBA Executive of the Year award but shortly after stepped down due to health issues. 

Bird returned to the Pacers’ front office in 2013 before officially stepping down in 2017 to focus on another role for the franchise. 

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