Larry Bird

by Eric Ecklund-Johnson

I know what many of you must be thinking. You’re thinking that Larry Bird’s retirement has about as much to do with Pietisten as a review of Ozzy Osbourne’s last album. Well, you are probably right, but Bird was my hero and also my father’s; and my father is managing editor, so here it is.

To me, when he. was healthy and at the top of his game, Larry Bird was the greatest basketball player in the world. Today, that title belongs to Michael Jordan, but that doesn’t take away from the memory of how great Bird was. Though slowed by injuries which eventually shortened his career, Bird managed some impressive achievements. He was the AP and Sporting News College Player of the Year in 1979. He was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1980, All NBA First Team 1980–1988, NBA Most Valuable Player 1984–1986, NBA All-Defensive Second Team, 1982– 1984, NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 1984 and 1986, and Most Valuable Player in the NBA All-Star Game in 1982.

I won’t even bother to quote his career statistics because as impressive as they are, they wouldn’t really explain Bird’s greatness. He was, without question, the best forward ever to play the game. (I think very few knowledgeable fans would question that assertion.) But, to me, he was more; he was my hero. I think I could have picked a worse one.