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Did Larry Bird Win Rookie of the Year?

Larry Bird is a historical player who has accomplished a lot in the history of basketball. He is an iconic figure in the Boston Celtics and went on to win 3 championships. He is one of the most decorated players in the NBA.

Did Larry Bird win the Rookie of the Year award? While he was selected in the 1978 NBA Draft, Bird won the Rookie of the Year award in 1980 – a year after, as he did not immediately sign the contract with the club. He averaged 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists during the rookie season.

From the moment Bird came to the league, it was obvious that his talent was something extraordinary. We will have a further look at his rookie season and other achievements. 

Missing a Year

While Larry Bird was selected the 6th overall pick by the Boston Celtics, he did not immediately start playing with the team. Instead, he chose to remain with Indiana State, where he ultimately won the NCAA title game. Red Auerbach stated that he would not receive more payment than other players on the roster, but Bird’s agent told him that Larry would enter the 1979 draft pick. Eventually, the deal was settled and by signing a five-year, $3.25 million contract with the Boston Celtics, Bird became the highest-paid rookie. Soon afterwards one of the rules got his name, which is also known as the Bird Collegiate Rule.

Rookie Season

As soon as Larry Bird arrived at the Boston Celtics, he immediately turned the team into a title contender. The team was struggling in the past years and with the arrival of Bird, everything changed. In his first game with the Celtics, Bird scored 14 points adding 10 rebounds and 5 assists against the Houston Rockets. On November 14 Bird recorded his first career triple-double with 23 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists against the Detroit Pistons. He soon had the first 30-point game against the Indiana Pacers.

Bird demonstrated that he was no alien to the NBA and finished the season with 21.3 points and 10.4 rebounds. Larry won the Rookie of the Year award that season and was also selected for the All-Star game. However, his Boston Celtics were beaten by the Philadelphia 76ers in the Conference Finals. However, it was only a matter of time before Larry Bird deservedly got his first championship title and since then started to dominate the league. 

Forming a Formidable Trio and Battle Against Lakers

Quickly after establishing himself in the Boston Celtics the team formed a magnificent trio. Bird was complemented by Robert Parish and Kevin McHale. Some call it one of the best frontcourts of all time. Then the series against the Los Angeles Lakers followed. Larry Bird had an epic confrontation against the other legend Earvin Magic Johnson. In total Bird managed to win 3 championship titles with the team. He was undoubtedly the leader of the Celtics.

Larry Bird is actually the only one to receive the Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, NBA Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year awards. Not only was he a perfect player but also a great coach.

Bird was Universal and True Leader

Once Larry Bird had 36 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists against the Golden State Warriors. The head coach said that was a combination of a wide variety of elements.”

The Boston Celtics forward set the scale of values ​​that dominates to this day: the greatness of a player is understood solely through the prism of his victories. Any other scale for them was equal to justification.

It is important to understand that this became possible due to the fact that Bird reformatted the concept of a star player – the club leader could not be a dependent person, could not rely on the little ones serving him (as was the case with Chamberlain and Jabbar), could not be in the shadow of the “big ones” ( as it was with Oscar Robertson and Jerry West). 

A leader should be as versatile as possible and be able to do everything – just be able to play basketball and not limit himself to some contrived functionality of a specific position. Thanks to this revolution, everything changed.

Larry Bird appeared in the NBA in 1979. What else came to the NBA in the 70s? A three-point shot, a weird ABA toy that no one saw any practical use.

Only narrow-profile specialists like Craig Hodges or Dale Ellis dealt with long-range shots. Bird was the first superstar to learn to take advantage of the ‘circus shots’. Of course, he won the three-point competition three times in a row (and he did not even take off his jacket, and also triumphantly threw up his finger even before the ball hit the target), but he made the main revolution directly in the game. 

By the mid-1980s, teams were averaging three 3s per game, Bird alone had 1.6, and in his best seasons, he hit 40+ percent, which is pretty good even by modern standards. Bird was the man behind the 50-40-90 elite club. He put free throws with his automatic machine, was elusive on the arc, super effective in the area of ​​two-pointers, despite the tendency to more often attack from the middle. Since then, others have also penetrated into the elite zone 50-40-90 organized by him: Steve Nash, Steve Kerr, Steph Curry, Dirk Nowitzki.