In college, Larry Bird was so good that his coach had to sit him to prevent him from demoralizing the starters by outperforming them in practice.

When it comes to its greatest legends, the NBA is replete with anecdotes from their earliest days of playing basketball. Although most of the greats’ careers have been spent in the league, college was a formative period for many brilliant players, and these stories shed light on how these players developed into their personalities. One such player is Larry Bird, of the Boston Celtics, who was good from his earliest days in college. Although he left the Hoosiers to play for Indiana State, Bird’s game spoke for itself from his very first days at college. In fact, Bird’s game.

The Boston Celtics player was terrific from his early college days and went on to enjoy one of the best primes this sport has ever seen. Even though Bird left the Hoosiers to play for Indiana State, his talent was evident from the beginning of his time in college. In reality, when Bird and his colleagues played games during practice as inexperienced players on second teams, they frequently defeated the starters.


“I sat out the first year I was here; my games were practice. I had the pleasure of coaching basketball under Coach King. We used to play against the first unit, which I was on, and we frequently defeated them. And because we were outplaying the starters, Coach King used to frequently sit me out of practice. And I was annoyed because I was never able to comprehend that.

“And one day I went to take a shower and said, ‘I’m outta here.'” I meant, if I can’t play when I’m not playing. However, the following day, I was called into Coach King’s office, where he told me, “Look, I’ve never had a losing season. Every day you come here, you demoralize the starting unit. We’re halfway through the season and they’re ready to give up because they can’t even beat you in practice.” Having to deal with a young Larry Bird for players who were supposed to be performing better than him must have been quite the ordeal. Eventually, Bill Hodges replaced Coach King, and Bird went on to become a huge college star who helped the team advance to the NCAA championship game.

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