Larry Bird Rumors
Bird still does some scouting for the Pacers and is a fan of today’s wide-open style of play and its heavy reliance on the 3-point shot. “My concern 15 years ago was everybody’s going to be 6-(foot)-9 like Magic Johnson at the point guard and the little guys are going to get squeezed out. Now it’s just the opposite,” Bird said. “The big guys are getting squeezed out and the little guys are taking over, and the 3-point line has been there since 1980 and nobody utilized it until the last 15, 17 years. I can remember watching Kentucky play and Rick Pitino was shooting 3-pointers all the time and I go Jesus Christ, no way you can win like that. Now if you don’t do it, you’re not going to win.”
The salary cap was introduced in the NBA a few years into Bird’s career and one of the spending exceptions allows teams to exceed the cap to pay their own veteran free agents more with an extra year on their contract. With Bird reaching free agency when the cap arrived in 1983, the rule became known as the Larry Bird Exception, or Bird Rights. Bird Rights are the biggest advantage an incumbent team owns in trying to retain a top player. Bird is glad the rule helps players earn closer to what he feels they’re worth, though having your name on an important piece of NBA business isn’t as cool as it sounds. “I know a few years ago I was hoping they’d take that out of the last Collective Bargaining Agreement because you’re sitting at home sometimes and you hear your name and you’re like, ‘What are they talking about now?’ and it’s always the Bird Exception or the Bird Rule,” Bird said.
The late 50s-something Mayor Bird’s dad is Larry Bird and his grandpa is Larry Bird. His son is the fourth generation of Larry Birds. Yet Mayor Bird, even with a reign over a city of nearly 100,000 people and a job as a high school principal, has never quite been able to get away from the basketball version of his name. Every day. Every time. When people hear his name, they reference the Larry Bird. Mayor Bird can hold his own with the Larry Bird talk. He knows all about him. Too much about him. He rooted against Larry Bird his entire life.