SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Thursday, June 10, 2004

The NBA According to Larry Bird(brain)

Jim Gray has sprung another story again. Tonight (I think it's tonight) ESPN will air an interview Gray recently did with Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Among Bird's tidbits were that he was offended when the other team sent a white guy to guard him and that the NBA doesn't have enough white players. Also, in the snippet I saw, I believe Bird said he didn't think that foreign white players were the answer for the fans because the majority of fans are white Americans.

Please! Larry, you were a legend on the court, but that's probably about it. A friend of mine once said that you never want to meet your heroes, and in this case you just don't want to hear a legend. As Morton Downey, Jr. (remember him?) used to say to his guests, "Zip it." Downey was a boor, and, in this instance, so is Larry Legend. Larry, race has no place in the discussion. Isiah Thomas was wrong when he categorized you as "just another white guy" (and you did fire him this past season when you took over the reigns of the Pacers), and you're wrong in saying what you've said.

White American fans are like any other fans -- they want winners, plain and simple. Sure, there are pockets of people who want their white stars, but those people are wrong too.

So, for now, if you want a Bird to root for on the basketball floor, check out former UConn great Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm. Outstanding player, Olympian, good student, class act.