Skip to main content

Larry Bird pays tribute to the late Bill Fitch: "He was ahead of the game"

Larry Bird-tribute-Bill Fitch

Larry Bird-tribute-Bill Fitch

Larry Bird paid tribute to his former coach at Boston Celtics Bill Fitch, and described him "ahead of his time." The Hall of Fame mentor died on February 2, 2022. He was 89. 

"He was ahead of the game"

Fitch coached the Celtics from 1979 to 1983. He won a title for Boston in 1981 in just his 2nd year with the team. At that time, Bird was only in his second year in the NBA but was already a 2x All-Star. Larry remembers his coach and what made him one of the brilliant minds in the game.

“I came in as a rookie and he sort of showed me the rope," Bird said. "I thought he was ahead of the game. Breaking down tape after games, we never did that back then. VCR and he run it back and forth, back and forth. I was blessed to have him. I had the most respect for coach Fitch and I can't thank him enough for what he did for my career.”

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Bird was right in giving tribute to his former coach. Larry would probably be a different player without learning the basic skills early on. Before his stint in Boston, Fitch mentored the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1970 to 1979. He then coached the Houston Rockets, New Jersey Nets, and the L.A. Clippers after the Boston Celtics. Bill retired in 1998 with 2,050 NBA regular-season games under his belt. 

A pioneer of video game tapes

Bill required all his players to be in top shape and integrated technology with his ideas. After all, he wasn’t nicknamed Captain Video for nothing. In a way, Fitch’s innovative techniques paved the way for modern analytics. If anyone needed proof of his greatness, they could check the successful names under his coaching tree: Rick Carlisle, Phil Jackson, Lenny Wilkens, Kevin McHale, Sam Mitchell, John Lucas, Lionel Hollins, and Flip Saunders, per CBS Sports

Fitch cemented his place among the all-time great coaches. He was a 2x Coach of the Year winner and included in the Top 10 coaches in NBA history, selected by media members in 1996. Bill was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019. 

Fitch will be remembered for his advanced ideas and teaching how to play the game the right way. His influence will continue to shape the game of basketball for generations to come. 

Devin Booker suffered devastating losses in the finals and playoffs. Fortunately, he has more than enough reasons to try again

Can Devin Booker redeem himself and his reputation after another playoff meltdown?

Devin Booker suffered devastating losses in the finals and playoffs. Fortunately, he has more than enough reasons to try again.

Amare Stoudemire questions Tyler Herro’s focus: He wants all this entertainment stuff, but where is the focus on basketball?

Amare Stoudemire questions Tyler Herro’s focus: "He wants all this entertainment stuff, but where is the focus on basketball?

Herro won the 6th Man of the Year but he's struggling in these playoffs. Amare Stoudemire questions where his focus is right now.

Marcus Smart’s importance to the Boston Celtics is becoming hard to overlook

Marcus Smart’s importance to the Boston Celtics is becoming hard to overlook

Smart has always been a solid defensive player, but his offensive strides have allowed him to become the player the Celtics need

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Robert Horry

Robert Horry explains why Damian Lillard is the greatest clutch player in history

Putting Jordan in the fifth spot is enough to get Horry in trouble.

NBA commissioner David Stern and Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman

When David Stern threatened to kick Dennis Rodman out of the league for having too many tattoos

Rodman's reaction tells you everything you need to know about The Worm.

Team Lebron forward Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and guard Dwayne Wade

Dwyane Wade says that God gave LeBron James everything except a robust hairline

Dwyane Wade believes God was fair enough to take one thing away from LeBron James.