Larry Bird trash-talks to journalists, gives advice to Philippine basketball players

larry-bird-philippines2NBA held a pre-season game between the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines – the first ever in the country.

President of Indiana Pacers, and legendary NBA player Larry Bird, who was with the team on the trip, talked to local journalists there, Interaksyon reported.

Speaking about the 1992 Dream team, which he was a member of, Bird said that those “were very special players”.

“We had guys who were along in their careers, we had some younger guys coming in and obviously, everybody thinks of (Michael) Jordan as the best player ever. So I was able to play with him and Magic Johnson,” Bird said in a press conference at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City,” Bird said.

Bird shared some of his thoughts on the contributions that his ’92 squad made to the game of international basketball.

“Back in 1992, the one thing I was told before everyone decided to get together and go play in the Olympics was – you can change the game of basketball in the whole world if you guys do this,” said Bird.

“And what they meant by that is if we go over there and dominate, everybody else in the world is going to say ‘we got to get better’. They got to bring in better coaches, better facilities, better training techniques,” he added.

“That’s the one thing I’ve seen in the last 20 years, is everybody’s gotten better. Not just United Sates or China, everybody in the world’s basketball is getting better.”

He attributes that to the way the Dream Team came out dominated, winning their game by an average of nearly 44 points per game.

“It’s because of what happened in 1992. Because if they didn’t get better, USA was going to dominate forever. But what you’ve seen in the last 15 or 18 years, every once in while we do get beat,” he said

“And we get beat because of what happened in 1992.”

larry-bird-philippines1He also shared some advice for the Philippine national men’s basketball team set to compete in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.

“As far as advice, you just gotta keep working and keep playing. Anytime you’re in a competition and you move up, you gotta stay together,” he said.

“You’re gonna have your good days, your bad days. But overall, you have to stay together and when everybody’s pulling in the same direction, it makes it easier.”

Bird was also a legendary trash-talker during his playing days, and gave a room full of journalists a small taste of his legendary trash-talking skills, 21 years after his retirement.

When a reporter asked about whether he felt more pressure as a player or as a front office executive, Bird cut the question short as soon as he heard the word “pressure.”

“Pressure? I don’t know what that is,” he said. ““Obviously, you’ve never seen me play.”

As a member of Team USA’s legendary Dream Team in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Bird etched his name in history as part of arguably the greatest collection of basketball talent ever as they romped through the competition to win the gold medal.

He played his entire professional career for Boston, winning three NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards. Due to chronic back problems, he retired as a player in 1992.

Bird was voted to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996 and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998. He played a total of 897 NBA games (starting 870), averaging 24.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg and 6.3 apg.


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