Skip to main content

Larry Bird thought he would be a construction worker growing up instead of a basketball superstar

Growing up, Larry legend assumed he’d be a construction worker to make a livelihood and support his family.
Larry Bird bullies a Boston Celtics prospect: 'The third time it happened...I’m starting to get kind of pissed'

Larry Bird

Growing up in a small town called French Lick in Southern Indiana, Larry Bird lived a simple life. His family couldn’t afford a car, more so a luxurious lifestyle. Bird and his 5 siblings spent most of their days at home playing basketball or making the most of what they had. At that time, Larry and his family didn’t think that he had the potential to be a superstar in the NBA despite his stellar high school career, so he never thought of pursuing the NBA.

Even during college

In an excellent profile interview with Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, Bird admitted that he had no plans to pursue professional basketball because he thought his career would end in college. Instead, Larry legend assumed he’d be a construction worker to make a livelihood and support his family.

“When I was at [Indiana] State, finishing to get my degree, they had me teaching special needs kids in a high school. That was tough. It gave me a lot of respect for people who do that.“I thought I’d wind up being a construction worker, pouring concrete. I wasn’t very good at shop in school, but I’d been around construction. As far as basketball goes, I just wanted to be the best player on my high school team,” Bird told Shaughnessy,

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Thankfully, Bird’s collegiate career became one of the best in basketball history. Despite dropping out of Indiana University, he pursued his studies and basketball career at Northwood University French Link, where he had a successful 3-year career with the Sycamores. Bird led the Sycamores to their first NCAA tournament appearance and averaged 30.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game — which punched him a ticket to the NBA.

Despite being in the pros, Bird still preferred the simple life

Despite turning his and his family’s life around by making it to the NBA and earning a chunk of money, Bird still preferred the simple lifestyle he lived in French Lick. He never bought into the fame despite the popular status he built for himself. He didn’t spend most of his money on cars, parties, or luxurious properties like how NBA players usually do, instead preferred to go back to his comfort zone in Indiana.

“When I’m home in Boston, I want to go out and eat, pay my bill, and get the hell out. Back in French Lick, I don’t have those problems, and that’s why I go back there. It’s the same with nice cars, Mercedes and all that. I can’t see putting $50,000 or $60,000 into a car when our house growing up was worth $10,000. I just can’t buy that. And clothes never did catch my eye. I never really enjoyed ‘em. I always wore what I felt comfortable in. I’ll wear pretty much anything if I get it for free,” Bird told Shaughnessy,

It’s not difficult to wonder why Bird preferred simplicity over luxury because that’s how he was brought up. He stayed true to his roots and never forgot where he came from. He didn’t have the best life growing up, but what was remarkable was how his basketball talents turned his and his family’s lifestyle around. 

LeBron James & John Salley

John Salley praises LeBron James for calling out the media’s coverage of the Jerry Jones picture - “Everybody wanting to call LeBron a sellout; no, you can’t”

Salley believes that James can no longer be labeled a sellout after he stepped up and voiced his concerns on an issue that not many people are paying attention to

Kristaps Porzingis & Luka Doncic

Kristaps Porzingis opens up about his failed partnership with Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks - “I just wasn’t the right guy”

When asked about his failed stint with the Mavs, Porzingis admitted that he and Luka Doncic were not a strong fit on the court together

New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing

"I'm here and I plan to finish my career here" — when Patrick Ewing left the New York Knicks for the Seattle Supersonics

Patrick Ewing hinted at how things played out with him and the Knicks that prompted him to leave the team in 2000.

michael-jordan-luc-longley-min (1)

Luc Longley on Michael Jordan’s only condition to end the Chicago Bulls’ practice sessions

Luc Longley gave us a peek into Michael Jordan's obsession with competition and winning.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas

“You're not given a real chance” — Isaiah Thomas breaks down 10-day contracts in the NBA

Former Boston Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas opens up about the reality of 10-day contracts in the NBA.

Charlotte Hornets guard Tony Parker

Almost lifers — stars who played their entire career for a single NBA franchise until their last season

As it turns out, all five guys probably would've been better off just retiring as icons of their original teams.

Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade

“Being able to stay out to 5AM and still score 40” — Dwyane Wade on his favorite memory from the 2006 Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade still couldn't help but be elated whenever he looked back at his 2006 run with the Miami Heat.

Sacramento Kings guards Mike Bibby and Jason Williams

“They were both awesome in their way for our team” — Ex-Sacramento Kings center Scot Pollard compares Mike Bibby and Jason Williams

Former Sacramento Kings center Scot Pollard was asked to appoint the better point guard between Jason Williams and Mike Bibby.