Larry Bird has established an illustrious legacy from his impressive NBA career. The former Boston Celtics great remains heralded as not only one of the game’s greatest talent but most influential players. With that territory comes some potential off-the-court issues even well after Bird‘s playing days.
Larry Bird’s NBA legacy
During the 1980s, Larry Bird played a pivotal part in elevating the NBA to a prominent status.
Bird strung together an impressive NBA career that has earned him recognition as one of the greatest players. The Hall of Famer earned three NBA titles, two NBA Finals MVP awards, three regular-season MVP awards, 12 All-Star selections, nine All-NBA First Team nods, and has his No.33 jersey retired by the Celtics.
He is still the only forward to secure MVP honor in three consecutive campaigns. Bird holds a cemented legacy that has garnered him plenty of recognition over the years from his peers and generations of NBA talent that has followed him. He has also had to deal with some issues off the court involving his image and likeness.
Larry Bird shuts down scam involving his former hometown residence
Before Larry Bird became an NBA legend, he spent his childhood growing up near French Lick, Indiana.
Bird became an all-state talent at the local high school, Springs Valley High School, where he averaged 31 points, 21 rebounds, and four rebounds in his senior year. Throughout the process, he earned the renowned nickname of the Hick from French Lick that has become ingrained with his NBA legacy.
In May 2008, Bird decided to file a lawsuit against the owners of his former home in French Lick for allegedly using his name to promote their bed-and-breakfast. The case’s argument was rooted in the homeowners, Geogianna Lincoln and Christopher Cooke, who did not have permission to use the Celtics great’s name and earned profit off his trademark.
The website for the home called it the “Legend of French Lick” while advertising the location as Bird’s former residence. It also invites any visitor to play basketball on the court, where he “spent hours practicing and perfecting his shot.”
Cooke stated that the negotiations to buy the home included verbal permission to use Bird’s name. He also argued that the locals in French Lick call the residence the Hall of Famer’s home.
Case reaches settlement, trademarks his name
The lawsuit went through court proceedings for a few months before the case being dismissed in September 2008.
In October 2008, Bird and the homeowners agreed on a settlement regarding the situation. The terms of the deal were not released due to both sides signing a confidential agreement. The lawyer representing the resort released a statement on the matter. (H/T CBC)
“All we can say is no comment or the lawsuit has been settled,” McNeely said Wednesday. “That Is the agreement that the lawyers on both sides entered into so we wouldn’t get into a back-and-forth as to who did better, who won.”
The case may have been dismissed, but the two sides still agreed on a settlement. Meanwhile, Bird went to the next step of trademarking his name and likeness with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to control their use.
Although the resort’s website still mentions that it’s the Hall of Famer’s former home, it does state that he has no affiliation with the property. The location also is not “endorsed or sponsored by Larry Bird or the Larry Joe Bird revocable living trust.”