Larry Bird spent the first two-plus decades of his life in Indiana. He returned to his home state in 1997 to coach the Indiana Pacers and has stayed there ever since, now serving as the Pacers’ team president.
But the Boston Celtics legend has pretty strong ties to the city where he built his legacy, and apparently that connection trumps any hometown favoritism.
Bird discussed just about everything Wednesday in a phone interview with The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, including any dilemma he might face about what pro sports teams to back. Apparently it’s not too hard of a decision for the Basketball Hall of Famer.
“I never root against the Boston teams,” Bird told Shaughnessy ahead of his team’s matchup with the Celtics at TD Garden. “There’s no sports town like Boston. I don’t care where you go.
“They talk about Chicago and Philadelphia. No. They don’t ever compare to Boston. I mean, there’s ladies in their 90s and they can name every player on the (Boston) Red Sox and (New England) Patriots team. You just don’t have it anywhere like that.”
But how did Bird react this January when the Indianapolis Colts — his hometown team — accused the Patriots of deflating footballs in the AFC Championship Game?
“I thought it was a bunch of lying, if you want to know the truth,” said Bird. “That’s something (WTHR.com columnist Bob) Kravitz came up with, and I never believed any of it.”
It’s hard to fault Bird for siding with the Boston area over his home state, as he helped bring three titles to the city and is one of the most popular and talented players ever to come through Boston.
The 2015-16 Celtics — who lost to Bird’s Pacers last week — are far from the team Bird played for back in his heyday, but he gave somewhat of a vote of confidence when asked to assess Boston’s current roster.
“They’re young and they play together and they’re fun to watch,” he said. “I haven’t really watched them that much. They seem like they’re going to be all right.”
Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images