Was Larry Bird Drafted

Last Updated on September 8, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Hey there sports fans, today we’re diving into the question that has plagued basketball enthusiasts for decades: was Larry Bird drafted? The answer may surprise you.

For those who aren’t familiar with the legendary player, Larry Bird is a former professional basketball player and coach. He spent his entire career playing for the Boston Celtics from 1979 to 1992, leading them to three NBA championships in 1981, 1984, and 1986. But how did he end up on one of the most beloved teams in NBA history? It all starts with the draft.

Larry Bird’s Early Life And Career

Larry Bird is a basketball legend who took the world by storm with his extraordinary skills on the court. Born in West Baden, Indiana in 1956, he grew up with a strong passion for sports and quickly developed an affinity for playing basketball. Despite facing numerous challenges throughout his childhood, including poverty and family issues, Bird never lost sight of his dreams.

His basketball skills were honed during his time at Springs Valley High School where he played both offense and defense positions. It was there that he caught the attention of multiple college coaches across the country. Eventually, he decided to attend Indiana University but dropped out after only a few weeks due to feeling homesick.

Bird then transferred to Northwood Institute (now known as Northwood University) before ultimately settling at Indiana State University where he would become one of the greatest college athletes of all time. During his tenure at Indiana State, Bird led the team to its first-ever NCAA championship game against Michigan State University in 1979.

Despite not being drafted until 1978 due to concerns over whether or not he would leave school early, Bird’s reputation preceded him as one of the most talented players coming out of college at that time. He finally entered the NBA draft when eligible and began his professional career with the Boston Celtics in 1979.

The 1978 Nba Draft

Larry Bird was the sixth pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, selected by the Boston Celtics. Other notable selections included two Hall of Famers — Mychal Thompson at number one overall, and Magic Johnson at number two. Other notable picks included Purvis Short at number five, and Reggie Theus at number nine. The 1978 NBA Draft is remembered as one of the most successful drafts in league history.

Larry Bird’s Draft Position

Larry Bird, one of the greatest basketball players in history, was drafted in 1978 by the Boston Celtics. However, he wasn’t a top pick and was selected as the sixth overall player that year. At the time, many people questioned whether or not this decision would be beneficial for the Celtics.

There were several other highly-touted players who were picked ahead of Larry Bird including Mychal Thompson, Phil Ford, and Rick Robey. In fact, Larry Bird’s draft position came as a surprise to some considering his impressive college career at Indiana State University where he led his team to an undefeated season before losing to Magic Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans in the NCAA Championship game.

Despite being chosen after other top picks, Larry Bird quickly proved himself on the court during his rookie season with the Celtics. He earned Rookie of The Year honors while averaging 21.3 points per game and leading his team to a playoff berth. His talent was undeniable and soon enough people began comparing him to NBA legends such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain.

In retrospect, it is clear that drafting Larry Bird as their first round selection was one of the best decisions made by any franchise in NBA history. He went on to lead Boston to three championships while winning multiple MVP awards throughout his illustrious career. It just goes to show you that sometimes being overlooked can work out in your favor – even if you’re considered one of the all-time greats like Larry Bird.

Other Notable Selections

As we’ve previously discussed, the 1978 NBA Draft was a pivotal moment for the league with Larry Bird being selected as the sixth overall pick by the Boston Celtics. However, he wasn’t the only player chosen that year who would go on to make significant contributions to their respective teams. Other notable selections included draft steals and some of the biggest busts in NBA history.

One such steal was made by the Seattle SuperSonics who drafted Jack Sikma as their eighth overall pick. While not as highly-touted as other players in his class, Sikma proved himself on both ends of the court and helped lead Seattle to an NBA Championship in 1979. He went on to become one of the best centers of his time and is now a member of the Hall of Fame.

On the flip side, there were also several big busts from this draft class including Rick Robey who was taken second overall by the Indiana Pacers. Despite having a solid college career at Kentucky, Robey struggled to live up to expectations in his four years in the league before retiring due to injuries. Another disappointment was Phil Ford who was picked ahead of Larry Bird by the Kansas City Kings but failed to achieve much success during his short tenure in Sacramento.

Overall, while Larry Bird may have been seen as a surprise selection at number six, it’s clear that he wasn’t alone in making an impact during his rookie season. There were certainly other notable picks – both good and bad – which have shaped how we view this historic draft class today.

Bird’s College Basketball Success

Larry Bird’s college basketball dominance is undeniably one of the most impressive feats in NCAA history. During his time at Indiana State University, he led the team to a 33-1 record and an appearance in the NCAA championship game against Magic Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans. Although they lost that game, Bird’s performance throughout the season was nothing short of exceptional.

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It didn’t take long for NBA scouts to take notice of Bird’s talent. In fact, many considered him as a top prospect for the 1978 draft even though he still had one more year of college eligibility left. However, Bird decided to forego his senior year and enter the draft immediately after his junior season. This decision paid off as he landed with the Boston Celtics who picked him sixth overall.

Bird’s success on the court during his three-year stint in college translated well into his professional career. He won three MVP awards and helped lead the Celtics to three NBA championships during his thirteen-year tenure with the team. His shooting ability, rebounding skills, and playmaking abilities made him one of the greatest players in league history.

Overall, Larry Bird’s journey from dominating college basketball to becoming a legend in the NBA will continue to inspire future generations of athletes. As we remember his legacy today, it is clear that he has left an indelible mark on both collegiate and professional sports forevermore.

The Indiana State Sycamores

As the NBA draft approached in 1978, Larry Bird was not on anyone’s radar. He had played for a small school called Indiana State University and his team had only made it to the National Invitational Tournament once. However, that didn’t stop Bird from dreaming big.

Bird led the Indiana State Sycamores to an impressive record of 33-1 during the 1978 season. His teammates knew they were playing with someone special. "Larry would always tell us that we could beat any team as long as we stuck together," said one of Bird’s former teammates.

Indiana State’s rivalry with another local university, Indiana University, was intense during this time period. The two teams faced off several times each year and it was always a heated battle. Despite their success that season, many people believed that Indiana State couldn’t compete with bigger schools like IU when it came to basketball talent.

Despite these doubts, Bird declared himself eligible for the NBA draft after his junior year at Indiana State. It wasn’t long before he was drafted by the Boston Celtics and became one of the greatest players in NBA history.

Larry Bird may have been overlooked by some scouts during his college career, but his determination and skill made him stand out among his peers. As he moved on to play professionally, he never forgot about his time at Indiana State and the teammates who helped make him into a star player.

The Boston Celtics’ Interest In Bird

After leading the Indiana State Sycamores to an improbable run in the NCAA tournament, Larry Bird’s draft stock skyrocketed. Many NBA teams were interested in acquiring him, but it was Boston’s scouting department that saw something special in Bird. They recognized his unique set of skills and abilities that could translate well to the professional game.

Boston had a history of success with drafting talented players, and they believed that Bird would be no exception. The Celtics’ interest in him grew as they scouted his college games and watched him dominate on both ends of the court. His shooting range, passing ability, and rebounding prowess made him one of the most coveted prospects in the draft.

On June 9th, 1978, Boston finally got their chance to select Larry Bird when he became eligible for the NBA draft. With the sixth overall pick, they wasted no time making their selection. It was clear that they saw something special in him that other teams didn’t quite recognize yet.

Looking back now, it’s easy to see why Boston’s scouting department was so high on Larry Bird. He went on to have an incredible career with the Celtics, winning three championships and numerous individual awards along the way. It just goes to show how important it is for teams to have a keen eye for talent during the draft process.

The Negotiations And Signing Of Bird

Like a bird soaring through the air, Larry Bird’s negotiations and signing with the Boston Celtics were a thing of beauty. The negotiation process was intense as both sides worked tirelessly to come up with contract terms that would satisfy everyone involved. It was clear from the start that Bird had his sights set on playing for one team only and that was the Celtics.

The discussions went back and forth for weeks until finally, an agreement was reached. The details of the contract were not disclosed but it was rumored to be worth millions of dollars over several years. Regardless of the specifics, what mattered most was that Larry Bird was officially part of the Boston Celtics family.

Bird’s arrival in Boston sparked excitement among fans who saw him as a savior for their struggling franchise. He brought with him an immense talent and work ethic that quickly earned him respect amongst his new teammates. His impact on the court was felt immediately as he helped lead the team to multiple championships during his tenure.

In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine what might have happened if Larry Bird hadn’t been drafted by the Celtics or if they hadn’t successfully negotiated his contract terms. But thankfully, everything worked out in favor of both parties and basketball fans around the world got to witness one of the greatest players of all time take flight in Boston.

Bird’s Impact On The Boston Celtics

Larry Bird was drafted sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in 1978, and his impact on the team was immediate. On the court, he led the team to three championships and numerous playoff appearances, becoming one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA. Off the court, Bird’s influence extended to the front office, as he became a leader in the locker room and the face of the franchise for many years. His impact on the Celtics was immense, and it will be felt for years to come.

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Bird’s On-Court Success

Larry Bird’s on-court success was a major factor in his impact on the Boston Celtics. His shooting prowess made him one of the most feared players on the court, and he consistently delivered clutch performances when it mattered most. But perhaps even more impressive than his skills as a shooter were his leadership skills, which helped guide the team to three NBA championships during his tenure with the organization.

Bird’s ability to shoot from anywhere on the court was truly remarkable. He had an uncanny knack for finding open spaces and hitting shots that seemed impossible to make. And when it came time to sink game-winning baskets, he always seemed to rise to the occasion. It’s no wonder that fans and teammates alike looked up to him as a role model and leader both on and off the court.

But what really set Bird apart from other players was his leadership skills. He wasn’t just a great player; he was also an incredible teammate who knew how to bring out the best in everyone around him. Whether it was through words of encouragement or leading by example, Bird had a way of inspiring those around him to play at their absolute best.

Overall, there’s no denying Larry Bird’s impact on the Boston Celtics, both as a player and as a leader. His shooting prowess and leadership skills helped guide the team to multiple championships, cementing his place in basketball history as one of its all-time greats. In short, Larry Bird will forever be remembered not only for what he accomplished individually but also for how he brought out greatness in others.

Bird’s Off-Court Influence

Larry Bird’s impact on the Boston Celtics goes beyond his shooting prowess and leadership skills on the court. Off-court, he made a significant influence through his charitable endeavors and coaching career.

Bird has always been known for his generosity and commitment to community service. He established the Larry Bird Foundation in 1988 to provide scholarships to Indiana high school seniors who demonstrate academic excellence, along with having financial needs. It was just one of many ways that he gave back to those around him, earning him respect not only as an athlete but also as a philanthropist.

In addition to his charity work, Bird also had a successful coaching career after retiring from playing basketball. He returned to his hometown team, the Indiana Pacers, serving first as their head coach and later becoming their president of basketball operations. Under his tenure, the Pacers reached three Eastern Conference Finals appearances and one NBA Finals appearance.

Overall, Larry Bird’s off-court influence is just as impressive as his on-court success. His dedication to philanthropy and coaching has left a lasting impact on both the Boston Celtics organization and the sport of basketball as a whole. As such, it’s clear that Larry Bird will forever be remembered not only for what he accomplished during his playing days but also for how he continued to give back throughout his life.

Bird’s Legacy In The Nba

Larry Bird’s legacy in the NBA is undeniable, and it all began when he was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1978. His arrival breathed new life into a struggling franchise that had endured five straight losing seasons. With his sharp shooting, court vision, and tenacious defense, Bird quickly established himself as one of the league’s top players.

Bird’s rivalry with Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers is one of the greatest in NBA history. Their battles on the court were legendary, with each player pushing themselves to their limits to outdo the other. Together they helped bring basketball back to prominence in America during the 1980s, earning millions of fans around the world who tuned in to see them face off against each other.

After playing for thirteen seasons with Boston, Bird announced his retirement from professional basketball due to chronic back problems. Despite this setback, his impact on the game would live on for generations. He won three MVP awards, three championships with the Celtics, two Finals MVPs and made twelve All-Star teams during his illustrious career.

Although Larry Bird retired over twenty years ago now, his influence can still be felt throughout today’s NBA. From Steph Curry emulating his precision outside shooting to LeBron James’ ability to dominate games at both ends of the floor, many modern superstars have credited Bird as an inspiration. It only goes to show how much he meant not only to Boston but also to basketball as a whole – truly one of its great ambassadors!


In conclusion, it’s safe to say that Larry Bird was not only drafted, but he became one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history. His journey from a small town in Indiana to the Boston Celtics is truly remarkable. Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks throughout his career, Bird persevered and left an indelible mark on the league.

As I reflect on Bird’s legacy, I am struck by how much he embodied both grit and grace on the court. He had a fierce competitive spirit that drove him to be the best player possible, yet he also showed compassion towards his teammates and opponents alike. It’s this combination of traits that set Bird apart as a true legend of the game – one who will always be remembered for his talent, leadership, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

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