"Boston has the best sports fans I've ever seen," says some dude named Larry Bird

“I was always told I wasn’t big enough or strong enough to compete against the best,” Bird said. “I heard it in high school, I heard it in college and I heard it in the pros, so I’d keep working harder. That’s what pays off. I guess things worked out pretty well.”
This past weekend, Larry Bird was honored by Indiana State University with a 15-foot tall bronze statue. Coming a week after the debut of the Bill Russell Legacy Project in Boston, Celtics legends are dominating the Its-About-Time-Commemorative-Statue game.

During his speech, which is packed full of great stories at the expense of former teammates and rivals, Larry Bird took some time to thank the people of Boston for his time spent with the Celtics.

“Boston has the best sports fans I’ve ever seen,” Bird said. “They live it and breathe it. I was so honored to be able to put on a jersey and play at a place where they cared. One of the best lines I ever heard, I think it was in ’86 against Houston, and we were going into Game 6 [of the NBA Finals]. The crowd was absolutely going berserk, and this was an hour before the game. Some of the guys were still shooting before they came back into the locker room. One of them said, ‘I’m telling you, them fans want blood out there and they don’t care whose it is. We lose, and it’s our blood!’ And man, was he right, the place was rocking that night.”
It is hard to imagine Larry Bird as anything but “The Legend.” In 13 years with the Boston Celtics, Bird helped the team raise 3 banners to the rafters in the Boston Garden. While the statue of Bird at ISU may look like it is honoring his time on the court at his alma mater, the spirit of this tribute is the encapsulation of a lifetime of hard work and dedication to the game of basketball at every level.

For more on this story, please clear your calendar, find a quiet place, and click here to celebrate one of the reasons the Celtics are the team you love so much.

Follow Padraic O’Connor on Twitter @padraic_oconnor

Photo Source: Justin Barrasso/WEEI.com