Even though he was an ordinary kid from a tiny country town (French Lick, Ind.), Larry Bird was a huge contributor toward the emergence of college basketball as we know it today. Before the Fab Five were about swagger and show, Bird was about straightforward, down-home basketball.
Bird had a rare skill set that allowed him to score from anywhere this side of the half court. At 6’9,” he was just as capable knocking down shots from downtown as he was backing someone down on the block.
Even though Bird only played three years of college ball, he ended up being the fifth-leading scorer in NCAA history. He was more than just a big-time scorer. He averaged 30.3 points over his collegiate career, but also pulled down 13.3 rebounds and handed out 4.6 assists per game. Wow!
Bird was a two-time consensus Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and a two-time consensus All-American (1978 and 1979). In his junior season, he was selected as the national player of the year by no less than six awards.
The 1979 NCAA tournament was a launching pad for the current age college basketball. What was a fantastic overall tourney culminated in a national title game that featured a showdown between Bird and Michigan State's Magic Johnson.
Though the Spartans ultimately prevailed, Larry Bird put Indiana State on the national hoops map.
Yes, give me one "Larry Legend" jersey, please.