Larry Bird, the “Hick from French Lick,” wasn’t your typical NBA rookie. Drafted by the Celtics, he famously wrote a note.

Larry Bird: The “Hick from French Lick” and His Famous Note to the Celtics

Larry Bird, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, wasn’t your typical NBA rookie. Drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1978, Bird brought with him not just exceptional talent but also a unique sense of confidence and determination that would define his illustrious career. Famously known as the “Hick from French Lick,” Bird’s journey from a small town in Indiana to NBA superstardom is marked by memorable moments, including a legendary note he wrote to the Celtics.

Early Life and College Career

Larry Bird grew up in the small town of French Lick, Indiana, where he honed his basketball skills on the local courts. His talent was evident from a young age, and he quickly became a standout player at Springs Valley High School. Bird’s prowess on the court earned him a scholarship to Indiana State University, where he led the Sycamores to an impressive 81–13 record during his three-year tenure, culminating in a championship game appearance against Michigan State and Magic Johnson.

The Draft and the Note

Despite his remarkable college career, Bird’s entry into the NBA was unconventional. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics as the sixth overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, even though he had another year of college eligibility remaining. Bird decided to play his final season at Indiana State before joining the Celtics, a move that was met with some skepticism.

During this time, Bird famously wrote a note to the Celtics that has since become a part of NBA lore. The note read, “Dear Celtics, I’ll be worth the wait.” This simple yet powerful message showcased Bird’s confidence in his abilities and his commitment to proving himself at the professional level.

Rookie Season and Beyond

Larry Bird joined the Celtics for the 1979-1980 NBA season, and true to his word, he was indeed worth the wait. Bird made an immediate impact, averaging 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. His stellar performance earned him the NBA Rookie of the Year award and helped transform the Celtics into a formidable team.

Bird’s rookie season was just the beginning of a legendary career. Over the next decade, he would lead the Celtics to three NBA championships (1981, 1984, and 1986) and win three consecutive MVP awards from 1984 to 1986. Bird’s rivalry with Magic Johnson, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, became one of the most storied in sports history, elevating the NBA’s popularity to new heights.

Legacy

Larry Bird’s impact on the game of basketball extends far beyond his impressive statistics and numerous accolades. Known for his fierce competitiveness, exceptional basketball IQ, and clutch performances, Bird became a symbol of hard work and determination. His career serves as an inspiration to countless aspiring athletes, proving that greatness can come from humble beginnings.

The “Hick from French Lick” not only fulfilled his promise to the Celtics but also left an indelible mark on the sport. Bird’s note to the Celtics encapsulates his journey from a small-town player to an NBA legend, reminding us that sometimes, the greatest rewards come to those who are willing to bet on themselves and back it up with relentless effort and dedication.

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