The story of Indiana State icon Larry Bird from dropout to trash man to college basketball superstar

Larry Bird is regarded as one of the all-time great NBA basketball players today.


Throughout his fortunate career, the 12-time All-Star and Hall of Famer collected three championship rings. However, as The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty on HBO has shown, things could have easily gone differently for him.

Before becoming a household name at Indiana State and the sixth overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, Bird struggled mightily to pursue a career in basketball.



His battles with family issues and poverty nearly prevented him from evolving into the legendary Larry that we know today.


Reasons for Larry Bird’s withdrawal from Indiana University

Bird was born in French Lick, Indiana, a little hamlet with just 1,807 residents according to Wikipedia. He became known as “The Hick from French Lick,” one of the finest NBA nicknames ever, because of his hometown.


Sports Illustrated’s Larry Schwartz claimed that at the time, French Lick was among the poorest towns in Indiana. According to Schwartz, Bird’s mother supported him, his four brothers, and his sister by working two jobs as a waitress.


Bird left Indiana University after just 24 days on campus, partly due to the ongoing stress caused by his poverty. “It wasn’t enough,” he told Indianapolis Monthly’s Michael Rubino in 2015. He had saved money for a year to play college ball under the great coach Bob Knight.

It wasn’t because I wanted to leave, but rather because I felt compelled to.”


Moving from such a small hamlet to the much larger university at Bloomington, Indiana, also presented a cultural shock for Bird





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