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SERBY'S SUNDAY Q&A WITH...LARRY BIRD


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April 2, 2006 -- The Post's Steve Serby chatted this past week with Larry Legend, who led Indiana State to the 1979 NCAA title game vs. Magic Johnson and Michigan State:

Q: Best piece of wisdom from Red Auerbach?

A: Don't be the retaliator, be the instigator.

Q: Your favorite Larry Bird play?

A: 1981 Finals against Houston. I shot an outside shot, I felt it going off to the right. I ran in there, got it, went behind the backboard, switched hands, flipped it up from five feet and it went in. Lucky.

Q: Not The Steal (from Isiah Thomas)?

A: That was just a reaction thing. It was just there, and it happened so fast. I was gonna foul (Bill) Laimbeer when he caught it.

Q: Most embarrassing moment?

A: Losing to the Knicks in Game 5 (first round, 1990, best-of-5) in Boston Garden. We had 'em down 2-0, and Kevin McHale said: "They have one foot in the grave and one sticking out of the casket. Let's close the door."

Q: All-Bird Opponent Team?

A: Michael. Magic. Dr. J. Moses Malone. Karl Malone.

Q: The 1992 Dream Team?

A: Very motivated. No BS.

Q: No funny stories?

A: (Laughs). Charles Barkley was on that team!

Q: And Barkley couldn't get over how skinny his Angolan opponent was?

A: A guy asked him, "What's Charles gonna do to him?" He said, "I feel sorry for him. I'm gonna give him something to eat." It didn't sink in until 30 seconds later. I go, "What'd you just say?"

Q: Biggest trash-talker?

A: Micheal Ray Richardson.

Q: Favorite athlete outside basketball?

A: Barry Bonds. The greatest player I've ever seen.

Q: Barry Bonds?

A: He won five (actually two) MVPs in Pittsburgh.

Q: You didn't like the label The Great White Hope?

A: It's a stereotype. I just wanted to be known as a good basketball player.

Q: Dr. J?

A: Exciting.

Q: Michael Jordan?

A: The best I played against.

Q: Magic Johnson?

A: I always wanted to play like him.

Q: Kevin McHale?

A: Best post moves I've ever seen.

Q: Robert Parish?

A: Ultimate team player.

Q: Reggie Miller?

A: Clutch.

Q: What is the key to performing in the clutch?

A: Confidence.

Q: What gave you your confidence?

A: I shot a lot before games and after practice. If I did have the ball in my hands, I know I've already taken that shot over and over.

Q: LeBron?

A: He's got a chance to be the top small forward ever.

Q: Kobe?

A: Probably top five I've ever seen.

Q: Best teammate?

A: M.L. Carr. He was all about the team. M.L. used to tell the coach during timeouts: "Coach, he don't look like he wants to be playing tonight. If he don't want to play, I want to play."

Q: Talk about the day you realized you weren't just another NBA player anymore.

A: We won the (1981) championship in Boston. I promised a buddy I'd come to his radio station win or lose. I get out of my car - it was downtown Boston - started walking down the street and people turned and looked and stopped. People were getting out of their cars clapping as I walked across the street. I knew that day I was a real champion.

Q: The one trait that sold you on your wife Dinah?

A: Loyalty. When we started dating, I'd call her up at the last minute and she was always willing to sacrifice.

Q: You proposed to her in your car?

A: Right after my dog died (laughs). I was turning 35, I think. I decided I was ready to do it.

Q: Best piece of advice from your mother?

A: Get out of the house and play ball.

Q: Favorite French Lick memory?

A: Playing basketball on the outdoor courts on the main drag. They had a parking lot and people on Sundays would pull in there and sit on their hoods and watch us.

Q: Did you drive a garbage truck?

A: I was on the back hanging off it. We picked up trash once a week off the street and put it in the compactor. We made a game out of it, see how fast we could do it and try to break records.

Q: Indiana State coach Bob King?

A: We had curtains around our court. You could talk to him outside that curtain - he'd be laughing. Once he stepped through he was a different man. He was the one who taught us how to play defense.

Q: Bob Knight?

A: Great coach. Very intelligent, very prepared.

Q: Could you have played for him?

A: Yes. I always said a coach is a coach. Whatever the coach wants you to do, you do it.

Q: Does any part of you wish you hadn't left Indiana and played for him?

A: I wish I could afford to stay there. I just couldn't do it financially.

Q: You imposed a media boycott during your Final Four so your teammates could get some recognition.

A: At that time, people were coming into Terre Haute and they wanted to talk to me. One of my teammates said something about it and I felt bad.

Q: Idol growing up?

A: Bill Walton.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?

A: I like to be by myself.

Q: Do you miss coaching?

A: No.

Q: Do you miss playing?

A: Not really.

Q: What do you do to get your basketball fix?

A: I tried golf; it got boring. You can't get the same edge you got as a player.

Q: Three dinner guests?

A: JFK. (Late Indiana) Gov. (Frank) O'Bannon. Martin Luther King.

Q: Favorite movie?

A: "Shawshank Redemption."

Q: Favorite sports movie?

A: "Rudy."

Q: Favorite musical group?

A: Grateful Dead.

Q: Favorite meal?

A: Steak and potatoes.

Q: What would you like your basketball legacy to be?

A: That I played hard and did the necessary work to prepare myself for games.
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Go PaCeRs!!!!
 

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Re: Great Q&A With Larry Bird...

StephenJackson said:
And it seems like this interviewer really asked some crappy questions. It's Larry Bird for crying out loud!
Yeah, this interview sucks. I took a semester's journalism class in which I did nothing, and I could still make a better interview than this.
 

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Re: Great Q&A With Larry Bird...

Pacers Fan said:
Yeah, this interview sucks. I took a semester's journalism class in which I did nothing, and I could still make a better interview than this.

Seriously, when I was reading it, I was thinking to myself: "What, did an eight year old conduct this interview?"

I'm still thrown off by the Bonds comment too.

And btw, One love P-Holic!
 

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Re: Great Q&A With Larry Bird...

Pacers Fan said:
Yeah, this interview sucks. I took a semester's journalism class in which I did nothing, and I could still make a better interview than this.
I actually really enjoyed this interview. As a big Bird fan, I find it really interesting to hear stuff like his "top 5 he's ever seen" comment about Kobe and the fact that he thinks Lebron could take his place as top SF ever. I like the ML Carr, French Lick and Indiana/ISU stuff. I guess I just like reading anything the Legend has to say.
 
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