The NBA is a cruel world, and the anecdote told by a legend has just proven it once again. Indeed, during his time leading the Pacers, Larry Bird was completely ruthless, even with his friends. The proof with his harsh words before firing a coach.
Larry Bird doesn’t necessarily benefit from the aura of legends like Michael Jordan or his great rival Magic Johnson, and yet he also greatly contributed to the rescue of the NBA in the 80s. As the general public gradually turned away from basketball, the rise of the legendary Celtics No. 33 breathed new life into the league, and it is also thanks to him that the sport is what it is. today.
And then Larry Bird is much more than a three-time regular season MVP, a three-time champion and two-time Finals MVP, the first ultra-versatile player in history with his 24 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in career average. Larry Legend is also a great coach and a great leader. Many Hall of Famers have wanted to become a coach, few have had such success.
When Larry Bird fired Isiah Thomas badly
As it could be on the ground with his insane trash-talking, Bird was a leader who did not have his tongue in his pocket and who really did not take tweezers. This is what Isiah Thomas revealed in a recent interview, when he had to explain how he was fired by the Pacers in 2003. He was not necessarily rewarded for his good work on the bench:
Before firing me Larry said to me: “You know Isiah, I really like you and you did a good job with this team. The team is really going in the right direction, but I think I will change coaches. I told him that before making this decision he had to listen to me, that he and I had the means to build a great team in Indiana. I didn’t know who he wanted to hire so I asked him to give me a chance.
He replied: “You did a good job here, it has nothing to do with you, it has nothing to do with your coaching skills, none of that. You know, I played with Rick Carlisle, he’s already on the staff, he’s a good friend of mine, I’ll hire him. Again, this is not a sanction against you”. I asked him if I was really fired, he said to me: « Yes, I love Rick more than I love you ».
Larry Bird was not one to get into feelings, he liked working with Isiah Thomas, he decided to part with him suddenly when he found a more suitable candidate to carry his team. He knew Rick Carlisle, his seriousness, and he decided to offer him a nice promotion because he preferred him to the former Pistons. History did not necessarily prove him right since he did not win any title.
Larry Bird was without pity in the field and in life. Because he preferred his former teammate Rick Carlisle, he did not hesitate to fire legend Isiah Thomas overnight. The former Celtics was a strong man internally.