Larry Bird more popular than any Pacers player

April 18, 2014
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It’s kind of amazing to consider that the most popular member of the Indiana Pacers doesn’t don a uniform. And he hasn’t since 1992. Heck, he hasn’t even coached since 2000.

In a recent ESPN Sports Poll, Larry Bird ranked No. 30 in a list of fans’ favorite athletes. No other Pacer past or present made the top 30.

The ESPN Sports Poll measures the most popular athletes in America from across all sports by asking the open-ended question, “Who is your favorite athlete?”

Bird is one of six retired athletes to have made the top 30. Michael Jordan, a decade after his retirement, still reigns supreme. He ranked No. 1 in ESPN's poll, which was for the 2013 sports year. Other retired players on the list were Muhammad Ali at No. 12; Joe Montana, No. 14; Brett Favre, No. 26; John Elway, No. 27; and Bird, at No. 30.

Ray Lewis, who is retired now but played in 2013, was No. 20, and Tim Tebow, who is out of football but is hoping for an NFL comeback, ranked No. 11.

So who is the most popular active athlete of 2013? Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who got 2.8 percent of the vote. Manning, who now plays for the Denver Broncos, was slightly ahead of LeBron James (2.5 percent), but a long way behind Jordan, who scored 4.1 percent of the vote. The only race car driver to make the list was NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr., at No. 15.

Bird, who now serves as the Pacers’ player personnel boss, benefits from having two massive fan bases: one in Indiana, where he grew up and played high school and college basketball, and another in Boston, where he played for the NBA’s Celtics. The fact that Bird guided the Celtics to three NBA titles, was a 12-time all-star, three-time NBA MVP and Olympic gold medalist also made him a national star.

 

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  • Yawn!
    And the grass is green, the sky is blue, and the sun will come up tomorrow. Continue with your day.
  • He's also white
    Bird was a star and a champion in a game where most of the stars are not Caucasian...that accounts for some of his longevity, like it or not...Bird and Magic Johnson have both noted that it was no coincidence that when the NBA was at its' zenith, the rivalry between Bird and Magic was at the forefront...Bird has also opined in the past that, for maximum marketing and commerce opportunities, the NBA needs a white superstar, and Magic agreed with him...there is a non-PC explanation for a part of this as well.

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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