Let's hear it for Bird

March 16, 2009
[Bill Benner's March 2 column on Larry] Bird was interesting and warrants comment. I cannot believe that it has been 30 years since Bird & Co. took the Sycamores to the NCAA finals. As a kid growing up in Terre Haute, I had the pleasure of watching Bird play college ball, especially during his senior year and the hell of a run the team made in 1979. The city of Terre Haute has and will never be the same, as Bird energized the town.

It amazes me how the NBA, and the game in general, has drastically changed for the worse since Bird and Magic [Johnson] left the sport. Today it's not about the love for the game, hard work and commitment it takes to be a champion. Rather and disappointingly, it's all about the money, shoe contracts, and other multimillion-dollar commercial endorsements.

I remember cutting out the article and picture in the paper the day after Bird executed his first NBA contract for $350,000 with Red Auerbach, the president of the Celtics. Although it was not documented, the story is that Bird jumped into his old beat-up Ford pickup and drove to Boston to continue his iconic career. Classic Bird!

If there is any one individual who can turn around the Pacer organization and the NBA, remember, Bird is the word.

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David  Kantor
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