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. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

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