Before Larry Bird embarked on his legendary NBA career with the Boston Celtics, he grew up in the small town of French Lick, Indiana. Bird spent his youth developing into the person he became with tremendous influence from his parents, particularly his mother. During that time, he earned an embarrassing nickname due to a specific habit.
Larry Bird’s illustrious NBA career
Bird spent his 13-year NBA career with the Celtics, where he firmly established himself as an all-time great.
The French Lick native elevated Boston back to championship success behind three NBA titles in five Finals appearances. He won two Finals MVP awards, earned three regular-season MVP awards, and received 12 All-Star selections and nine All-NBA First Team nods. He remains the only forward in NBA history to win three straight MVP awards.
His legacy took off to another level through his legendary trash-talking. Bird’s ability to back up his fierce banter garnered strong respect from his peers. His extreme confidence in his performance lifted him to reach sustained success and recognition as one of the game’s greatest players.
Years before he entered the NBA, Bird earned a specific childhood nickname from his mother.
Larry Bird’s Mom once spilled the beans on his embarrassing childhood nickname: ‘Not many people know that’
Bird grew up in the small town of French Lick, Indiana, which holds a small population of under 2,000 people.
The tight-knit community shaped the person the former Celtics star forward became. Much of which saw him develop a tremendously strong bond with his mother, Georgia Bird. That relationship sat at the core of personality.
“My mother worked so many hours,” Bird said. “She worked 100 hours a week, and she made a $100 back then. She’s very stubborn. I’m very stubborn. She’s very moody. I’m very moody. I get a lot of things from her. All that goes through me when I play basketball.”
Bird also garnered a particular habit that his family took notice of during his childhood. His mother revealed that his cleanliness led to him receiving a specific nickname.
“I don’t know if I should say this or not, but we gave him the nickname “Mr. Clean.” Not many people know that,” Georgia Bird said via Basketball Network. “He’d go out and play and he’d come back in and he’d take a shower and change clothes. He could not stand to be dirty. He had to be clean.”
Bird’s obsession with cleanliness stuck with him throughout his childhood. All that doesn’t make it surprising to hear that he picked up a job working on a garbage truck, a position that he thoroughly enjoyed.
Ultimately, the former Celtics great had his quarks with his personality that made him who he is.
Legendary legacy forever changed the NBA
Bird’s childhood certainly shaped who he became as a person.
However, it’s his legacy on the basketball court that sits firmly in place. The Celtics legend remains regarded as one of the game’s greatest talents.
Bird’s dominance throughout the 1980s left an everlasting impact that influenced the generations of talents that followed. What he lacked in athleticism; he made up through his skill as a shooter and passer and high basketball IQ. His play helped transform the league into what it has become while adding to the Celtics’ legendary status.
Although Bird’s career ended sooner than he desired due to a bothersome back injury, he left an irreplaceable imprint on the NBA.