Cover image for Bird watching : on playing and coaching the game I love
Bird watching : on playing and coaching the game I love
Bird, Larry, 1956-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Warner Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 318 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library GV884.B57 A27 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Audubon Library GV884.B57 A27 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

On Order



Larry Bird captured the imagination and admiration of basketball fans throughout his thirteen-year career with the Boston Celtics with his trademark style of creative, intelligent, exciting, and hard-nosed play. And then, last year in his rookie season as head coach of the Indiana Pacers, he infused the team with these same qualities -- and the results were remarkable. He turned around a slumping franchise and led the Pacers to the conference finals. To finish off a great season, Bird was named the NBA's "Coach of the Year" -- quite an accolade for Bird, who had never coached before and surprised many fans with his unusual and unorthodox coaching methods.

This book is a look into one of the greatest minds to have ever stepped on a hardwood court. Larry Bird shares his inner thoughts on basketball that to date only his Celtic teammates and Pacers players have been privy. From dissecting offensive and defensive strategies to assessing the talent of NBA players; from sharing the genesis of his coaching philosophies to how he deals with today's overpriced and temperamental players, it's all there. This book is Larry Bird's basketball playbook, and it's the one book every basketball fan will want to read.

Cover design by Tom Tafuri
Cover photograph by Glenn James/NBA Photos

Author Notes

Larry Joe Bird (born December 7, 1956) is a former American NBA basketball player and coach. He was drafted into the NBA sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in 1978. In the summer of 1992, Bird joined Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and other NBA stars to play for the United States basketball team in that year's Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. It was the first time in America's Olympic history that the country sent professional basketball players to compete. The "Dream Team" won the men's basketball gold medal.

On August 18, 1992, Bird announced his retirement as an NBA player. Following Bird's departure, the Celtics promptly retired his jersey number 33. In 1989, Bird published his autobiography, Drive: The Story of My Life with Bob Ryan. The book chronicles his life and career up to the 1989 NBA season. In 2010 Bird co-authored the book, When the Game Was Ours with "Magic" Johnson.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Bird was synonymous with intelligent, unselfish play as a Hall of Fame forward with the Boston Celtics in the 1980s. His preparation and conditioning were legendary as he led the Green to three NBA titles. His name was also more closely linked to the Celtic franchise than anyone since Red Auerbach, so many were surprised when he left the organization to become head coach of the Indiana Pacers prior to the 1997^-98 season. The consensus was that he wanted to be back in his home state of Indiana. Wrong. Bird reveals here that he wanted to coach a veteran team that he felt had a legitimate opportunity to dethrone the then-champion Chicago Bulls. There are plenty of other insights into the intensely private Bird in this surprisingly revealing memoir: he discusses, for example, his disdain for coaches who are screamers; his admiration for fellow coach Pat Riley (who supplies an equally admiring foreword); and his overwhelming affection for his hometown of French Lick, Indiana. There are anecdotes from his playing days, insights into his coaching philosophy, and even some details of life in French Lick: Bird really does hang around the gas station with the same friends he's had since high school. Bird is an uncomplicated man who has attained a great deal through hard work, dedication, and loyalty. And when Bird talks basketball, people listen. Expect demand. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fans expecting the literary highlight reel of the NBA legend's championship years with the Boston Celtics may be initially put off by this loosely organized collection of opinions and reminiscences. They should stick with it, however, because ultimately the book is an endearingly honest self-portrait of a humble man who has made the most of his opportunities. Celtic fans will be titillated by the frank reports of just how Larry Legend wound up leaving Boston. Being a give-it-to-me-straight kind of guy, he was disgusted with the disingenuous ways of the Celtic front office, where he briefly worked after his playing days. Bird, now the head coach of the Indiana Pacers, also explains, quite briskly, how his relationship with fellow Celtic Kevin McHale went sour: as their careers wound down, McHale and another teammate went behind Bird's back to reporters with complaints that his play had become selfish. But Bird's refusal to pull punches doesn't hit only his adversaries: he admits that he was lucky that his good friend Rick Robey was traded away from the Celtics, because the good times they had together got in the way of Bird's career. He also writes that not he, but Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz should have been named Coach of the Year in 1998. The Hick from French Lick solidifies his reputation as a straight-talker unimpressed with his own legend. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Of all the superlatives continually heaped upon Larry Legend throughout his 13-year Hall of Fame career with the Boston Celtics, none is more significant or revelatory than the declaration that Bird was the best because he elevated the game of his teammates. Here, in his reflective, postplaying-days memoir, imbued with a straightforward, down-home, hick-from-French Lick approach, he provides numerous insights into his basketball world as a Celtic and coach of the Indiana Pacers; heretofore unknown disclosures of the medical problems that plagued him during his career; his close and vitally important professional and personal relationship with physical therapist Dan Dyrek; experiences and anecdotes of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team; dealings with front office personnel; and relationships with family, lifelong friends, and other players, especially Celtics teammates and Magic Johnson, with whom Bird will be forever inextricably linked for their 1979 NCAA Championship and Celtics-Lakers rivalry that virtually resurrected NBA popularity in the 1980s. Bird's work ethic, fierce sense of independence and privacy, devotion to his family, and sense of fairness underscore not only his stellar career but his entire life. While veteran actor and narrator Tom Stechschulte is a competent reader, it is impossible to listen to Bird's story without hearing that inimitable southern Indiana drawl; one wishes the author himself would have told his own story. That complaint aside, this is a courtside seat to the basketball life of one of the game's greatest; a nothing-but-net buzzer-beating game winner for all collections. Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Pat Riley
Forewordp. xi
Chapter 1 On Retirementp. 1
Chapter 2 On the '92 Olympicsp. 23
Chapter 3 On My Time in the Front Officep. 41
Chapter 4 On Joining the Pacersp. 61
Chapter 5 On Private Mattersp. 81
Chapter 6 On My First Year As Coachp. 103
Chapter 7 On Coaching Today in the NBAp. 121
Chapter 8 On Coaching Philosophyp. 145
Chapter 9 On Endorsements and Lifestylep. 167
Chapter 10 On Life in French Lickp. 185
Chapter 11 On Team Dynamicsp. 205
Chapter 12 On the Long Seasonp. 229
Chapter 13 On Jordan, Magic, and Myselfp. 249
Chapter 14 On the NBA Todayp. 271
Chapter 15 On the 1999 Playoffs Debaclep. 299
Indexp. 311

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