Bird Watching: On Playing and Coaching the Game I Love Hardcover – Sep 1 1999
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The first sentence of Larry Bird's candid post-player memoir begins blandly enough: "On August 18, 1992, I announced my retirement from the Boston Celtics." It's the one that follows--"It was one of the happiest days of my life"--that sets the tone for the book. Most stars have to be pulled off center stage, but as Bird Watching makes clear, the former Celtic legend who returned home to eventually coach the Indiana Pacers is certainly a rare bird. He's not afraid to ruffle feathers. And he's not afraid to tell his truth.
Perhaps the most striking revelations concern his heart. On top of the back pain that plagued him through much of his career, from time to time Bird experienced the feeling--and disorienting flush--of an irregular heartbeat, which he kept hidden from the Celtics. Even now, in the stress-filled world of coaching, Bird has almost passed out on the bench a couple of times--but he remains a fierce competitor. "I'm not going to be stupid about this heart condition, but I'm not going to live my whole life in fear of this thing either. If it goes, it goes."
Bird Watchingspends virtually no time with Bird the player; he's not one for looking back. He's more interested in explaining his evolution and thinking as a coach, examining the current state of the NBA, and picking apart the Pacer's disastrous 1999 playoff loss to the Knicks. He does, however, reminisce about his amazing connection to Magic Johnson, comparing it to the bond between Ali and Frazier. "I knew it was going to be like that forever after I played him in college for the national championship," Bird writes. "I never came up against anyone, other than Magic, who could challenge me mentally. Magic always took me to the limit." From Bird, it's hard to imagine a more heartfelt compliment. --Jeff Silverman
From Publishers Weekly
Fans expecting the literary highlight reel of the NBA legend's championship years with the Boston Celtics may be initially put off by this loosely organized collection of opinions and reminiscences. They should stick with it, however, because ultimately the book is an endearingly honest self-portrait of a humble man who has made the most of his opportunities. Celtic fans will be titillated by the frank reports of just how Larry Legend wound up leaving Boston. Being a give-it-to-me-straight kind of guy, he was disgusted with the disingenuous ways of the Celtic front office, where he briefly worked after his playing days. Bird, now the head coach of the Indiana Pacers, also explains, quite briskly, how his relationship with fellow Celtic Kevin McHale went sour: as their careers wound down, McHale and another teammate went behind Bird's back to reporters with complaints that his play had become selfish. But Bird's refusal to pull punches doesn't hit only his adversaries: he admits that he was lucky that his good friend Rick Robey was traded away from the Celtics, because the good times they had together got in the way of Bird's career. He also writes that not he, but Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz should have been named Coach of the Year in 1998. The Hick from French Lick solidifies his reputation as a straight-talker unimpressed with his own legend. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Reviewer: Known as one the of the best basketball players to have ever stepped foot onto a NBA court, Larry Bird's book will teach you many things about himself as well as the game. Larry brings the reader into some of his most personal things that he has never shared with anyone. He gives you a first class view on all of his experiences of playing professional basketball in the NBA. He shows you the downsides, positives, but most of all the victories. You'll find out first hand all of the injuries Larry has encountered that until now he has kept as a secret.
Through this book Larry will share with you information of his hometown, French Lick, Indiana. You'll learn about his family, about his fathers' death and the way up to his mothers' death. Larry talks about more than just his parents he introduces you to his wife, Dinah and his two children, Conner and Mariah.
Larry will walk you through his entire career. All the way from his high school career, where one of his favorite coaches, Jim Jones coached him. Jim Jones was the coach who really taught Larry all of the fundamentals of the game. Larry didn't seem to have that many coaches that he didn't care for. Larry is also a very hard worker, he really appreciated it when coaches made him run hard. He believed that every basketball player should be conditioned to play the game. Then later on in his career when he ends up becoming a coach he incorporates all of the coaching skills that he has gathered from his previous coaches and uses them on his players. He brings you through some of his most exciting journeys and some of his most famous friends and players.
Just about everything in this book flows together.Read more ›
Unlike most professional basketball players, Larry Bird never regretted the day he left the NBA and even says that the day he retired was "one of the happiest days of [his] life." Faced with chronic back problems and an irregular heart, Bird was happy to see the day when he no longer had to endure the pain of playing the sport he loved more than anything. Coming from the man himself, the story describes Bird's life in a detailed and personal manner. From beginning to end, the reader easily notices the uniqueness of this man's character and not only sees, but feels the impact this incredible man left on so many fellow players, fans, and loved ones.
I thought this was a great book, especially for a sports fan. I felt that for a sport's book, it was particularly well written. The author's style allows the reader to get a personal glimpse of the life of Larry Bird and causes the reader to feel as if they knew this NBA legend. Because of the story's subject, the author employs very few literary devices. However, the author uses many similes in describing Bird's injuries, allowing the reader to appreciate Bird's choice in leaving the NBA. The book lacks an overall dominant theme, but simply wishes to convey the story of one of the greatest and most unique basketball players of all time.
Most recent customer reviews
This book explores the post playing days of arguably the best forward to ever play the game of basketball. Read morePublished on March 5 2002 by Rocco
Larry Bird has always been Straight&to the Put.from His Playing days with His Classic Battles with Magic Johnson to His Coaching Career&His Overall View on the NBA&it's... Read morePublished on Nov. 10 2001 by MAXIMILLIAN MUHAMMAD
A very interesting book which gives both sides of the game from a player's and coaches' prespective. I would recommend this book to both Larry Bird and basketball fans.Published on July 31 2001 by SK
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you have some time on your hands or just like to read sport books read this one. Read morePublished on March 4 2001 by allrightythen8
I found this book very good, but I liked Mark Shaw's Larry Legend book more personally. I think it explored quite a lot into the life of Coach Bird.Published on Jan. 11 2001 by PaulB
I enjoyed the book. It's perfect for the airplane or doctor's office. Interesting, entertaining, but easy to put down and pick back up. Read morePublished on March 22 2000
The most striking attribute of Bird Watching is its sincerity and candor. I've always liked Larry Bird and this was a must purchase. He doesn't pull any punches here. Read morePublished on March 2 2000 by D. Salinero
I have read what I thought all there was to know about the greatest baskeball player of all-time. But through this book, I have learned more about the legendary Bird. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2000 by Marie
Bird Watching is one of those rare books that captures both the man, his courage, yet his simplicity. This book is chock full of surprises and funny stories. Read morePublished on Nov. 18 1999