Larry Bird Contemplates Own Mortality, Doesn’t Expect To Live To Age 75


Feb 4, 2016

Larry Bird’s fatalistic view on his future often upsets his wife, and basketball fans now can join her in their concern over “Larry Legend.”

In an interview with Jackie MacMullan that ESPN published Thursday, the 59-year-old Boston Celtics legend said he’ll likely lose his life within the next decade-and-a-half due to his six-foot nine-inch frame and longstanding heart conditions.

“I tell my wife all the time, ‘You don’t see many 7-footers walking around at the age of 75,'” Bird told MacMullan. “She hates it when I say that. I know there are a few of us who live a long time, but most of us big guys don’t seem to last too long. I’m not lying awake at night thinking about it. If it goes, it goes.”

Bird has an enlarged heart, and doctors diagnosed him in 1995 with an abnormal heartbeat. The Basketball Hall of Famer has managed his conditions by dieting, exercising and taking medication but remains convinced longevity will elude him.

Moses Malone, Daryl Dawkins and Anthony Mason are among retired NBA players who died last year before they reached age 60.

MacMullan writes of the NBA’s big men, “their atypical size and the strains placed on their bodies during their careers cause them to deteriorate more quickly and die younger.”

Her reporting and Bird’s view should serve as a reminders to appreciate him while he’s still with us. But that doesn’t mean everyone has to start rooting for the Indiana Pacers, for whom Bird currently serves as team president.

Bird’s best moments with the Celtics >>

Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images

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