Experience the unforgettable NBA debut of Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird against the Houston Rockets, and witness the moment that changed the franchise and the NBA forever. This historical event took place on Oct. 12, 1979, at the iconic Boston Garden.
Larry Bird, the highly anticipated star from Indiana State, showcased his incredible skills and immediately made an impact on his new team. His presence helped lead the Celtics to a thrilling 114-106 victory in their regular-season opener. Bird’s impressive performance included 14 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in just 28 minutes on the court.
This memorable debut was just a glimpse of the greatness that Celtics fans would come to witness over the next 13 years. The 1979-80 season proved to be a remarkable one for both Bird and the Celtics. They started the season with an impressive 30-9 record and finished with a league-best 61-21, marking a significant 32-win improvement from the previous year. Bird’s exceptional contributions resulted in his selection as an NBA All-Star and his subsequent recognition as the Rookie of the Year. Throughout the season, he averaged an incredible stat line of 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.
Although the 1979 playoffs didn’t yield a championship for Bird and the Celtics, it was only a matter of time before the “The Hick from French Lick” brought glory to Boston. The 1981 NBA Finals saw the Celtics triumph over the Rockets, securing their 14th banner. This victory was just the beginning of Bird’s incredible run, as he went on to play a pivotal role in three championship-winning Celtics teams in 1981, 1984, and 1986.
Bird’s outstanding career, spanning from 1979 to 1992, continues to be revered in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He amassed a remarkable list of achievements, including three NBA championships, two Finals MVP awards, 12 All-Star selections, 10 All-NBA selections, three MVP awards, and three All-Defensive selections. Additionally, Bird played a key role in the historic “Dream Team” that won a gold medal for Team USA in the 1992 Olympics.
Bird’s emergence as a superstar, along with his legendary rivalry against Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers, is credited with revitalizing the NBA. The arrival of these two electrifying players in 1979 marked a turning point for the league, which had been experiencing a decline in viewership during the 1970s. The 1980s became known as the golden age of the NBA, highlighted by three thrilling Finals matchups between the Celtics and Lakers.
To relive Larry Bird’s iconic NBA debut and delve deeper into his legendary career, watch the captivating video above, presented by VA New England.
Emily Turner is your source for everything NBA. As a dedicated basketball enthusiast, she offers insights into NBA games, player highlights, trade rumors, and the league’s evolving dynamics. Emily’s love for the sport shines through in her comprehensive NBA coverage.