Visit the Larry Bird Museum in Terre Haute! - footballivenews
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Visit the Larry Bird Museum in Terre Haute!



TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — Larry Bird, a self-admitted shy introvert, questioned why he had to keep speaking in front of thousands.

“It’s because of the love and respect I’ve had for my fans and the love and respect they’ve shown me back,” Bird explained.

The Indiana State University and Boston Celtics legend spoke at a public ceremony Thursday for the opening of the Larry Bird Museum inside the Terre Haute Convention Center. Afterward, he took questions from the media, joking it might be his last interview.

“I got a little street named after me, a statue out there, and now a museum here,” Bird said of Terre Haute, home of Indiana State. “Thank you, Terre Haute, but I think that’s enough for a while. You have no idea how much I respect the city and its people.”

The ceremony coincidentally took place just days after the Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals by sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals. Bird, a former Pacers head coach and executive, returned to the team as a consultant in 2023.

“I remember at the All-Star Game, I told one of the Celtics owners that I thought they had the best team in the league,” said Bird, who won three NBA titles with the Celtics. “I’m very proud of the Indiana Pacers. They’ve got a great opportunity to keep moving forward. Haliburton and the other guys play well together. When the ball’s moving, they win. If they guard a little bit, they win. Sometimes they don’t guard. They have a very good team, and they’ll only get better.”

Bird, 67, is proud of the museum and the work that went into it. The museum features memorabilia from Bird’s high school, college, and NBA career, interactive exhibits, and interviews with coaches, teammates, and rivals. Bird led Indiana State to the 1979 NCAA championship game before losing to Magic Johnson’s Michigan State.

“I think they’ve got enough in there to keep everyone’s interest,” Bird said. “I think it’s going to be good for the city and attract a lot of visitors.”

Bird noted that many items in the museum bring back memories of his career.

Terri Conley, Co-Chair of the Capital Improvement Board Museum, said Bird insisted on free admission to the museum.

Bird described the museum opening reception as unbelievable.

“That’s what social media is all about, thank God they didn’t have that when I was playing,” he said. “So many young kids wearing my jersey. … Terre Haute has followed my career. You don’t make these journeys alone. Terre Haute always had my back.”

Bird never imagined having a museum named after him.

“All I tried to do was follow my brother’s footsteps and make the varsity team,” he said. “I made myself proud when I started as a junior. I kept playing and, obviously, I love the game. I loved other sports, too, but basketball clicked for me.”

Entering his sophomore year at Springs Valley High School, Bird was just 6-foot-1 before a huge growth spurt.

“Thank God, I grew or I’d still be working on that garbage truck,” Bird said, referring to the job he had in French Lick after leaving Indiana University before his freshman season started and before enrolling at ISU. “At 6-1, you don’t make it to the NBA unless you are special and very quick. I even grew up at Indiana State. I went from 6-7 1/2 to 6-9, and that really helped my game.”

Bird recalled some tough losses and great wins during what he called his amazing journey.

“It’s just unfortunate my career didn’t last longer because I could have played two more years, but the injuries started mounting,” he said. “I felt we should have won at least one more championship with the team we had.”

Bird retired before the 1992-93 season due to back problems. He helped the Celtics capture NBA titles in 1981, ’84, and ’86. As a head coach, Bird led the Indiana Pacers to the NBA Finals in 2000 before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers.