Skip to main content

When Larry Bird Dominated Indiana Pacers After Violently Hitting His Head On The Floor During A Crucial Game 5

When Larry Bird Dominated Indiana Pacers After Violently Hitting His Head On The Floor During A Crucial Game 5

Many stories perfectly sum up how great Larry Bird was during his active days. The Boston Celtics legend didn't have an easy job when he joined the team in 1979, as he had the responsibility of making Boston fans relive old glories and bring more joy to the then most successful team in the NBA.

Bird was just different and didn't care a lot about that. He established himself as a superstar in the league, but also as one of the fiercest competitors and biggest trash talkers in the entire association. Larry Legend was always trying to dominate his rivals and demoralize them with his words and actions

Even when he was down and dealing with injuries, Bird never stopped pushing and one of his most memorable stories perfectly explains how relentless that man was. Back in 1991, when the Celtics' best times were over, Bird still had something in the tank. 

The Greens faced the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs, and Game 5 of the 1991 first-round series gave us another sample of how dominant Larry was. Recently, Basketball Mecca shared the story of Bird hitting his head on the floor. He was already dealing with back injuries and was told he needed back surgery. That game decided the winner of the series, and Bird was thought to be out of the match. 

During the second quarter of the game, Bird tried to recover the ball and his head hit violently on the floor. He even thought he broke his jaw with that big hit.

Via The Athletic:

“When I hit the floor, I thought I broke my jaw, because I couldn’t move my mouth,” Bird told the Pacers website in a 2004 piece pairing his interview with that of Indiana’s Chuck Person. “I was in a lot of pain, but I could hear the crowd out there and I thought, ‘I can’t leave those guys out there all by themselves.’”

Bird lay motionless as the Pacers ran the floor to draw a foul, but he soon got up and walked back to the locker room. It would turn out he broke his cheekbone and he was told his night should be over.

“The doctor told me I probably had a concussion and they didn’t think I should go out there with both the back and the damage I did to my brain,” Bird said. “I rattled it a little bit.”

He would return to the game in the 3rd quarter and after that, it was over for Indiana. While he was being checked, Larry heard the reactions from the public and decided to make another appearance to help his team secure the win and the series.

“I kept hearing the crowd oohing and aahing, and I kept asking what the score was,” Bird said. “I had this massive headache on the right side of my head but finally I decided, ‘This could be your last game ever, so you’d better get out there and give it all you can.’”

In the end, Boston got the 124-121 win over Indiana. Bird finished the match with 32 points, shooting 62.3% from the field and 80.0% from the free-throw line. Boston would face the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the postseason, but they weren't as lucky, with the Detroit Pistons taking them out in six games. 

At the time, Larry was dealing with a lot of issues on his back and that game was one of the last displays we saw of his quality. That man was really tough and didn't run away from a challenge. That's why he's one of the greatest players of all time and somebody that every NBA fans respect.