Talent, drive, smarts, and an absolutely one-of-a-kind personality-that is the essence of basketball legend Larry Bird. Now Bird tells the story of his playing and coaching days that the headlines could only hint at. Starting with the day he announced his retirement as a member of the Boston Celtics ("one of the happiest days of my life"), looking back to his college career, and going behind the scenes as head coach of the Indiana Pacers, Bird talks hoops and talks life, strategy and players, victories and defeats. At the same time we find out why he decided to leave the Pacers, how he really hurt his back, and who the most important influences on his life have been. A great book about basketball, this is also a great book about a fascinating man-who played the game his way from the beginning to the end.
Fans expecting the literary highlight reel of the NBA legend's championship years with the Boston Celtics may be initially put off by this loosely organized collection of opinions and reminiscences. They should stick with it, however, because ultimately the book is an endearingly honest self-portrait of a humble man who has made the most of his opportunities. Celtic fans will be titillated by the frank reports of just how Larry Legend wound up leaving Boston. Being a give-it-to-me-straight kind of guy, he was disgusted with the disingenuous ways of the Celtic front office, where he briefly worked after his playing days. Bird, now the head coach of the Indiana Pacers, also explains, quite briskly, how his relationship with fellow Celtic Kevin McHale went sour: as their careers wound down, McHale and another teammate went behind Bird's back to reporters with complaints that his play had become selfish. But Bird's refusal to pull punches doesn't hit only his adversaries: he admits that he was lucky that his good friend Rick Robey was traded away from the Celtics, because the good times they had together got in the way of Bird's career. He also writes that not he, but Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz should have been named Coach of the Year in 1998. The Hick from French Lick solidifies his reputation as a straight-talker unimpressed with his own legend. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Grand Central Publishing
October 01, 2000
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