Roughly six months after retiring due to chronic back ailments, the Celtics promptly retired Larry Bird’s jersey number 33 at a special ceremony at the Boston Garden 20 years ago last Monday on February 4, 1993.
The 6-foot-9, 220 pound Bird, a forward who Boston took out of Indiana State University with the sixth pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, shelved his Converse sneaks as a 35-year-old following 13 seasons as a member of the fabled Celtics franchise.
Overcoming poverty and enduring the suicide of his father as a teenager, Bird, a 12-time All-Star and 9-time All-NBA First Team selection, averaged 24.3 points, 6.3 assists and 10.0 rebounds over the course of 897 games as a professional.
Most importantly, “The Hick from French Lick,” who was voted to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996 and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998, led Boston to three Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophies.
The only person in the annals of the association to be named Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year, Bird capped his iconic career competing for the Dream Team that captured gold at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Overflowing with awards and accolades, arguably one of the more memorable evenings in the history of Larry Bird’s livelihood occurred more than two decades past this week on the parquet floor at 150 Causeway Street in Beantown.by