Once every generation or so, a player comes along who can truly be called a superstar. Larry Bird was such a player.
For 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics, from 1979-80 through 1991-92, Bird personified hustle, consistency and excellence in all areas of play -- as a scorer, a passer, a rebounder, a defender, a team player, and, perhaps above all, as a clutch performer. Bird was so self-confident that he was known to waltz up to the opponents' bench before tipoff and predict a 40-point performance for himself.
He was such a deadly shooter that he sometimes practiced 3-pointers with his eyes closed. Among Bird's contemporaries, perhaps only Earvin "Magic" Johnson was considered a better passer and was a player who he would inextricably be linked with forever. Few played tougher than Bird, who would leap into crowds and over press tables for loose balls.
Bird was the embodiment of "Celtics Pride." He was a classy, confident, hardworking player who thrived on pressure and inspired teammates to excel. Like Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, John Havlicek and Dave Cowens, the low-key Bird never forced the spotlight upon himself, but rather was a player who brought out the best in the players around him. But even those legendary players didn't fill Boston Garden, wowing fans and dominating games as Bird did.