By the early ’90s, Larry Bird was at the end of his historic career, impacted by several injuries, with the back injury being the worst one for his body. 1991/92 season was the last one in his career, and by 1991 the league looked much different when Magic Johnson announced his retirement, Bird was no longer in his prime, and Michael Jordan won the first championship with the Bulls. There was a big shift in which teams were becoming NBA powerhouses, mostly because of the Celtics and Lakers‘ decline, who pretty much ruled throughout the ’80s.
At the age of 35, to go alongside several injuries under his belt, Bird didn’t lose the interest in basketball and the competitive nature that made him one of the most dominant players in NBA history. In an interview with Quinn Buckner in 1991, Bird talked about the injuries and struggles he’s facing in the NBA and the inability to play on the level he is accustomed to. However, despite all those problems, the love and passion for the game were still there, and Bird wasn’t giving up on his career and the opportunity to perhaps win one more championship.
I still get the same enjoyment playing when I’m pretty healthy. This year was probably the best training camp I had because of the fact I was pain-free, I was moving well, I was feeling good. I knew I had to work on my game. Shooting and work on my passing because I missed all summer and didn’t play all summer, so I was really enjoying it. I was going along fine, and all of a sudden, I took a couple of falls, got banged up a little bit, and tried playing through pain, and it all caught up to me. It’s not fun where I’m sitting right now, but it’s fun when you play pain-free.Larry Bird
Bird kept a positive attitude about his return on the basketball court and, despite being 35, still believed there were no boundaries on what he can do in the game. Even though he wasn’t on the same level physically, it oftentimes seemed he was one step ahead of everyone in the game.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you love to do something and you love to work out, and you love to play basketball, it really doesn’t matter what is your age or how old you are.Larry Bird
After appearing in 45 games during the 1991/92 season, Bird announced his retirement. Even though he was one of the league’s older players, he still had impressive numbers averaging 20 points, 7 assists, and 9.5 rebounds per game. When you watched him play in some of those games, you could tell he is no longer himself, but the passion and his competitiveness were unmatched. That is one of the main reasons Larry will forever be remembered as a true legend of the game.