News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Top Story 3

November 3, 2013

The Bird Years: Small-town beginnings

Larry Legend's evolution began on French Lick courts

FRENCH LICK — Larry Bird is not the only small-town Hoosier basketball success story.

But his rise to legendary status makes his the biggest.

Bird’s ascension to stardom at Indiana State is the essence of what March Madness is today. He may have come out of nowhere in the minds of basketball fans around the nation, but those native to Southern Indiana’s Orange County and the surrounding area — and really any pride-filled Hoosier small town — would disagree.

While he is better known for thriving under pressure in his NCAA championship battle with Magic Johnson of Michigan State, or the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals showdowns of his pro years, Bird learned to excel on that stage while playing for rabid fans of the Springs Valley Blackhawks in French Lick.

Area filled with talent

Hardwood battles with larger rivals such as Washington and Jasper or tradition-rich Loogootee blended in with county rivals Orleans and Paoli each season. The challenging caliber of play in the area was evident as Bird improved year-to-year.

Facing talent like Orleans’ 6-foot-7 Curt Gillstrap and Milltown’s Dave Smith, both of whom earned scholarships to play for Louisville, Bird went from one of Springs Valley’s key players to the Blackhawks’ star who outshone Gillstrap in head-to-head battles as a senior.

And talented basketball players were also in Bird’s own family. Three years older than Larry, brother Mark Bird was known as a great shooter at Springs Valley. The oldest of the six Bird children, Mike, also played for coach Jim Jones, who would later coach Terre Haute North Vigo’s Patriots.

“That really provided him a tremendous amount of competition. He was very competitive, really had a will to win,” Jones said. “Those things just began with the brothers and carried on right through his career.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Story 3
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell
NDN Video
Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity