News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

November 9, 2013

TODD GOLDEN: Great to see Bird inside his house at Indiana State

TERRE HAUTE — I don’t know Larry Bird and it would be extraordinarily foolish for me to pretend to be an expert on his mood, but some impressions don’t lie, and as I watched the Indiana State legend be honored with a beautiful 15-foot statue by his alma mater on Saturday at Hulman Center, I saw someone who seemed at ease in his time, and especially, his place.

Memories came back easy for Bird … as did smiles. He kibitzed with friends and well-wishers before, during and after his statue was dedicated in a well-attended morning ceremony.

He hung out in the Hulman Center Varsity Club before the game as any other alum might. He sat front-and-center with long-time friend Greg Gibson in the courtside seats at Hulman Center, and for two hours, he was a fan as much as any of the other 7,221 on-hand as he watched ISU defeat in-state rival Ball State 82-73.

When the statue itself was unveiled, I was fortunate enough to have a vantage point where I could see Bird’s reaction. He was genuinely moved, and after that first sense of awe drained from his face, he wore a big smile as he expressed his thanks to sculptor Bill Wolfe.

It felt right. It felt like Bird was home. ISU and Terre Haute threw their doors open for their favorite son and it seemed Bird was happy to step right in and feel the love.

Adoration is nothing new for Bird of course. His greatness as a basketball player has demanded it ever since that iconic 1979 season that placed himself and ISU into college basketball immortality. ISU wanted to pay its respect with a statue and a scholarship fund and Bird was more than happy to reciprocate.

“I’ll never be comfortable about [being honored], but this is part of who I am and what I do. If somebody wants to show you a ton of respect you’ve got to reply. I’ll never be comfortable being in the spotlight because I know how many people have helped me along the way,” Bird said.

“I’ve had some awful good folks and some awful good teammates. They always say if you have good people around you good things will happen. That’s what’s happened with me my whole career,” Bird added.

The Bird ceremony was well-done on Saturday, but I don’t think I’m out of bounds in saying that most ISU fans would love if Bird could come back to ISU and enjoy himself without pomp and circumstance. Without a spotlight. To just be Larry, the guy who felt so comfortable in Terre Haute all those years ago, and which helped him decide to become a Sycamore in the first place.

An ideal scenario would be for Bird to come back when he wanted to, relax, take in a game, and just be himself in a place that’s been good to him and loves him unconditionally. To be part of the ISU fabric beyond just the legendary shadow his playing career will always cast.

It seemed that Bird felt the pull. In both his public comments and those to the media, he was unfailing in his praise of both ISU and Terre Haute.

“Terre Haute’s always been good to me. It was the right fit. I liked the campus. I liked the school. I met a lot of people in the community. We did a lot of charity work. [Former ISU coach] Bob King insisted on us doing charity work. I feel very comfortable here, and if I feel comfortable in a place, I usually do really well,” Bird said.

Bird, of course, does have the small matter of his day job as President of the Indiana Pacers. Fitting in ISU games isn’t easy when you’re trying to build a team into the NBA powerhouse the unbeaten Pacers have become. Aside from a one-year retirement during the 2012-13 season, Bird has been busy with Pacers duties for the last decade. Given that, it’s easy to understand why he hasn’t taken in a game since his number was retired in 2004.

Bird wasn’t having it though. He said his Pacers’ duties are no excuse for not gracing his alma mater with his presence.

“Now that our team is pretty well set, I might have more freedom than I did. We put a lot of hours in, but I ain’t going to blame [not coming to ISU games] on my job. Really it was me not getting in the car and getting over here. It’s not that far so I can’t blame anything but myself,” Bird said.

I don’t think any ISU fans blame Bird at all. He’s more than earned the right to come and go as he pleases. The love for him will always be here, it will always be unconditional, and I’m sure he knows it.

“This is the place I need to come. This is the place for me. I don’t think I was in Terre Haute until I came to visit here, but when I left, it was with sadness. I loaded up my car, took off for Boston and it was a sad day. Now I can come anytime I want to. It makes it easier,” Bird said.

The door will always be open. Come back anytime you want to Larry. This is a place you can always feel right at home and feel the love.

Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or todd.golden@tribstar.com. Follow Golden on Twitter @TribStarTodd.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • LeBron James says he’s returning to Cavaliers

    LeBron James is going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
    James told Sports Illustrated Friday that he’s decided to go home. It’s a move that would have seemed unfathomable four years ago, after the venomous fallout that followed his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat.

    July 11, 2014

  • Sports: What’s going on today

    July 11, 2014

  • SPT 071014 RAMER TROPHY.jpg Ramer, Kuppler claim junior city golf titles

    Megan Ramer and Colton Kuppler were two winners in the junior city golf tournament concluded Thursday in sunny, warm conditions at Rea Park.
    Both golfers claimed titles in the 15-17 age division for the first time while Ramer and Andrew Granda were two of the winners in the 2013 tournament.

    July 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Rex return from All-Star break with a win at Danville

    The Terre Haute Rex returned to action on Thursday in winning fashion as they defeated Danville 4-1.

    July 11, 2014

  • Terre Haute North knocks off Clinton for District 4 9-10s title

    Visiting Clinton had a 1-0 lead — that could have been bigger — as the championship game of the District 4 Little League tournament for 9-10 all-stars neared its halfway point Thursday night at Terre Haute North’s park.

    July 11, 2014

  • Roundup: Wayne Newton defeats Rockville by 7-1 score

    Wayne Newton Post 346 picked up its third American Legion baseball victory in as many days Thursday night at Terre Haute North, downing visiting Rockville 7-1.

    July 11, 2014

  • SPT 070914 RAMER CHIP.jpg Kuppler, Ramer hike leads in city junior golf tourney

    Champions for the 2014 city junior golf tournament will be decided today in the final round of competition at Rea Park.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • wallace.jpg Wallace wins UMP feature

    NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie Justin Allgaier led the UMP Modifieds 20-lap feature race through eight laps Wednesday night at the Terra Haute Action Track. But former NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace found an opening on the bottom of the back straightaway and went on to win the race.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • odum.jpg Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play

    Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patton stays hot at Martinsville Fair

    Freddie Patton Jr. was the leader for the second day in a row in harness racing action at the Martinsville Agricultural Fair.
    The ace driver and trainer was in the bike for two winners and was nipped at the finish in a third race with 2-year-old trotters and pacers in the seven races on the card run in sunny, pleasant conditions.

    July 9, 2014

Local Interest
High School
College
odum.jpg

Indiana Pacers' Jake Odum (23) takes a shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder during an NBA summer league basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

  • Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play

    Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • MVC Tournament staying in St. Louis until 2018

    Missouri Valley Conference men's tournament staying in St. Louis until 2018.

    July 9, 2014

  • mundy.jpg College report: Former Patriot runner Mundy is ‘proud to be a Hoosier’

    After redshirting the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons this year, Chanli Mundy was eager to do one thing recently as she prepared to compete in the USATF Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Eugene, Oregon. “The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is being able to wear an IU uniform,” she said last week prior to making her cross-country trip.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Odum scores 2 points off bench for Pacers

    Three of the top picks in last month’s draft are adjusting to NBA at different speeds at the Orlando Pro Summer League.

    July 7, 2014

  • Terre Haute's A.J. Reed joins Manziel as an SEC Athlete of Year

    University of Kentucky baseball star A.J. Reed of Terre Haute and Florida softball standout Hannah Rogers have been named 2013-14 Roy F. Kramer Southeastern Conference Male and Female Athletes of the Year, according to a voting by the league’s athletics directors.
    “A.J. and Hannah are true examples of outstanding student-athletes,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday. “They have competed at the highest level of collegiate athletics, and through their hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence, have been successful in their endeavors. They are fine representatives of their universities and this conference.”

    July 1, 2014

Sports Columns
Pro Sports
odum.jpg

Indiana Pacers' Jake Odum (23) takes a shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder during an NBA summer league basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Terre Haute Rex
Colts
clark.jpg

Auto Racing
AP Auto Racing News
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande FIFA Rejects Suarez Appeal Against Biting Ban Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Attacks Escalate Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Soft Robot Fish Lead New Wave of Robotics Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Neighbors Mourn Killing of Texas Family Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
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
Real Estate News