Lessons from Larry Legend

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I was reading an article the other day on the Sports Illustrated web site about Larry Bird.

The article was an excerpt from “When March went Mad: The Game that Transformed Basketball,” a book about the 1979 NCAA basketball championship between Bird’s Indiana State team and the Michigan State team lead by Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

The article focuses on Bird and how he came to play basketball for Indiana State. He had originally signed and attended Indiana University, but went back home to French Lick, Indiana, after having a bad experience at the school.

Later, Bill Hodges, an assistant coach at Indiana State, went to Bird’s town to talk to him about coming to that school, according to the article. Hodges was talking to Bird about needing good players when Bird suggested a player from French Lick who had graduated from high school a few years earlier.

“He would have been a really good player if he had gone to college,” Bird told the coach.

Hodges replied, “You know, Larry, someday they’re gonna say the same thing about you if you don’t go to school.”

The article said that for the first time that day, Bird looked Hodges straight in the eye. He said nothing.

As you probably know, Bird went on to play for Indiana State where in 1979 he led them to the championship game that is the focus of the book. He went on to become one of the great NBA players of all-time.

Later, I couldn’t quit thinking about the comment the coach made to Bird. I thought of all the people who go through life in their own personal French Lick. They realize later they should have taken some chance in life to become who they were meant to be.

If that thought hits you, consider these questions:

• How are you still holding yourself back? Loosen up on the reins a little.

• What kept you from doing what you think you should have done? Make sure you don’t make the same mistake again.

• What feelings arise when you think about missed opportunities? If you feel bad, realize that it’s never too late to do what you should do.

Get in touch with your dreams, then focus on reaching them. Start today.

Steve DeVane

2 Responses

  1. Gary McElwain


    That was a powerful comment that coach made to Larry Bird. And most people would of just let it pass right by.

    I’m glad you put it out here for all of us to see, and give us something to think about.

    I hink this is a great lesson that we should not just let pass.

    Gary McElwain

  2. SteveDeVane


    Yeah, as powerful as the comment was, it was Bird who realized its power and responded to it. Just think, if not for that comment and Bird’s reaction to it, we might have never enjoyed watching the basketball greatness of Larry Bird.

    Thanks for the comment.


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