The fans never wanted him to leave, but Larry Bird's back would no longer allow him to play with the same zeal he had for more than a decade. So 20 years ago Saturday, Bird announced his retirement after 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics.
Bird took with him three NBA championship rings, three Most Valuable Player trophies and numerous other honors, including 12 All-Star Games, 10 All-NBA selections and three All-Defensive team honors. He left Celtics fans with those three championship banners and countless memories on the Boston Garden parquet.
On Feb. 4, 1993, Celtics fans packed the Garden even though there was no game. They were all there to pay tribute to Bird, who soaked in the adoration, patiently listened to some gracious words by friend and rival Magic Johnson, and then said the words Celtics fans hoped they would never hear:
"Sorry, but I'm gone."
Check out a few moments from Bird's retirement ceremony in the video below.