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"I used to turn my back on them. I couldn't stand watching them!"-Larry Bird on his players dancing pre-game

Bird was all about business.
Larry Bird

Larry Bird

Larry Bird will always be remembered for being one of the best players in NBA history and an all-time legend, but his short coaching career was nothing less than impressive. Maybe the style and professionalism he brought to it played a huge part in it.

Old-school approach

When the Indiana Pacers hired NBA legend Larry Bird as their head coach in 1997, they probably couldn't predict a rookie head coach would have so much success from the jump. Bird was named the Coach of the Year in his first season after his Pacers went 58-24 and got eliminated by Jordan's Bulls in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Two years later, the Pacers took a step further and made it to the Finals. They were faced with the rising dynasty of the Lakers with Shaq & Kobe. Even though Bird had a great mix of veterans and youth on his team, with guys like Reggie Miller, Rik Smits, Jalen Rose, Mark Jackson, Chris Mullin, etc., the Lakers were too much, winning in six games.

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Bird had a lot of success in three short seasons, but that would be the last we would see of Larry Legend on the sidelines. Despite ending his coaching career with an impressive 147-67 record (68.7%), Bird decided to move upstairs into the front office and do his work in the shadows.

Back in a 2004 interview with GQ, Bird shared some of the pet peeves that annoyed him during his coaching stint, explaining how he demanded professionalism from his players:

"I always tried to look professional. When I coached, our guys used to do a big dance routine during warm-ups. I used to turn my back on them. I couldn't stand watching them. I went to them and asked if they'd put a stop to it. They asked me why, and I said I thought it was embarrassing—not just to me but to our fans. And they quit doing it. We went to the NBA Finals that year."

Larry Bird, GQ

Almost every NBA team, especially today, has some kind of dance routine before the game, as it has become a staple of the game. It has been a thing for a while, but Bird was coming from a different time. He just hated seeing his team clown around, and when he decided to put them in check, the Pacers went to the Finals. Is it a coincidence or a direct result of Larry's regime is up for debate.

Larry also spoke about his dislike for players wearing baggy shorts, untucked jerseys, wristbands on their biceps, and many more trends that came out in the early 2000s'. After all, Bird came straight from the 80s, when the game was much cleaner and professional, while the newer eras kind harmonized with the hip-hop movement. After all, not every style is everybody's cup of tea.

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