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Larry Bird Never Rooted Against Boston Teams, Even If He Was Part Of The Opposition: "There Is No Sports City Like Boston... I Know How Much Sports Mean To Them."

Larry Bird

Larry Bird may be one of the best players ever according to all NBA fans, but in Boston, his legend is much greater than that. Bird brought 3 NBA titles to the city while winning 3 MVPs and stayed a Celtic for the entirety of his storied professional playing career. He was truly elite as a shooter and his rivalry with Magic Johnson is considered to be one of the factors that revived fan interest in the league. 

While Bird is associated with Boston, he's not originally from there. As his nickname, 'The Hick from French Lick' suggests, Bird was from French Lick, Indiana, and went to college at Indiana State. After he retired, Bird would return as a coach to the Indiana Pacers and stay with them as an executive till 2017. Indiana claims Bird as one of their own but his time in Boston led to his name becoming synonymous with the city and their Celtics.

Speaking to Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe in 2015, Bird revealed that while we had grown up as a fan of Indiana's teams exclusively, his allegiances had grown over his career. Larry Legend explained that even when he was an executive competing against the Celtics, he couldn't bring himself to root against them, or indeed, any other Boston franchise. 

“I never root against the Boston teams,” Bird said in a phone interview while his Indiana Pacers prepared to face the Celtics at TD Garden Wednesday night. “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 Red Sox and Patriots team. You just don’t have it anywhere like that.

It’s unbelievable out there, and my gratitude to the fans out there is that I’d never root against them because I know how important sports are to them.”

Bird's love story with the city of Boston and its fans is one of the most wholesome examples of how sports brings people together. And his time supporting Boston's franchises has been fruitful too, with the Celtics, Red Sox, and the Patriots all winning multiple championships since Bird's relationship with Boston began. There are very few players that have earned the special relationship with the city they played in like Bird and it remains a marker of the best legacy an athlete can leave in his sport. 

Credit for the idea: Sportscasting