In a moment of crisis, Larry Bird pinpointed the precise moment he realized he wanted to take center stage and said, “I Could Be a Hero.”

It may be difficult to find a basketball player that exudes confidence like Larry Bird does on the court. The legendary Boston Celtics player didn’t naturally possess it. Bird talked about the game where he discovered he wanted the ball in his hands at crunch time in 1985, right in the thick of his three consecutive MVP awards.

As he went on to win his three consecutive MVP awards from 1984–86 and add three more championships along the way, Bird quickly disproved the doubters with his 21.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game as a rookie. He is regarded as one of the most clutch shooters in NBA history and was well-known for his trash-talking on the court and his ability to knock down big shots when the game was close.

“I can never see myself as Mr. Spokesman for the NBA or for this or that,” Bird said to United Press International in 1985. “That’s not my job. My job is to go out and play as best I possibly can for the Boston Celtics and win basketball games. After that, it’s over and I can go home.” Bird didn’t need or want the spotlight off the court.

Nor did he always desire the limelight on the court.

 

When the game was on the line, Larry Bird recounted the moment he knew he wanted the ball in his hands.

During his time at French Lick, Indiana’s Spring Valley High School during high school, Bird fell in love with the spotlight on the court. He related the story of how, in the closing seconds of a game, he knew he wanted the ball as he was getting ready for another run at the NBA Finals in 1985.

 

Bird told UPI, “I had broken my ankle and returned in time to play in the sectionals tournament.” “I was on the bench when the coach called my name; it was late in the game. From the stands, I assumed it was my brother or someone else shouting down. The coach then asks, “Are you interested in playing?” I get off the bench and start crying.

“I’ve seen these scenarios countless times: I have the ball, the score is tied, and I need to make the big theft to win the game. I’m not worried about it right now because it keeps happening.

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