115+ Best Larry Bird Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Larry Joe Bird is an American former professional basketball player, former coach, and former executive who most recently served as President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers in the National Basketball Association. Profoundly inspirational Larry Bird quotes will get you through anything when the going gets tough and help you succeed in every aspect of life.

Famous Larry Bird Quotes

A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals. – Larry Bird

The best player I ever played with was Dennis Johnson. – Larry Bird

Don’t let winning make you soft. Don’t let losing make you quit. Don’t let your teammates down in any situation. – Larry Bird

The best players will play. That’s the way it will always be. – Larry Bird

Basketball was always a game to me. One of the greatest things in life for me was to be able to play what I loved dearly and get paid for it. So it was always a game to me and that’s how I perceived everything. – Larry Bird

I’ve always been interested in jobs in the NBA. But I’ve been in this for 20 years and it might be time to do something else. – Larry Bird

When it gets down to it, basketball is basketball. – Larry Bird

I have always been confident in my skills and once the game got going I knew I was probably the best player on the floor most of the time whether it was junior high, high school or college. I knew I had control of the game. – Larry Bird

My opinion about basketball, the way I was taught, was when you step on the court, you play to win. – Larry Bird

I can see why fans don’t like to watch pro basketball. I don’t, either. It’s not exciting. – Larry Bird

I’ve been around a while. I kinda know these things. – Larry Bird

I mean, the greatest athletes in the world are African-American. – Larry Bird

My goal was just to try and be the best player on my high school team, and look where I am now. And that was still my goal as a young kid, just to try and be a little better than my brother was. – Larry Bird

The best basketball announcer is one who allows you to close your eyes. – Larry Bird

I always know what’s happening on the court. I see a situation occur, and I respond. – Larry Bird

If there was a payment to the bank due, and we needed shoes, she’d get the shoes, and then deal with them guys at the bank. I don’t mean she wouldn’t pay the bank, but the children always came first. – Larry Bird

Who in their right mind wouldn’t listen to what Larry Bird tells them? He knows what it takes to be a successful player, and he’s letting us do the things to have the success. – Larry Bird

Guys like Larry Bird — he played so hard, he wants everybody else to play hard. That’s not unreasonable. Any coach would want that and demand that. – Larry Bird

Anytime you’ve got an opportunity to play for your country and win a gold medal, I think that takes it all. That’s the greatest thing you could ever achieve in your sport. So, I have been very fortunate to play on great teams, but the gold medal was probably the best. – Larry Bird

I think you have to work very hard and dedicate yourself and have the respect of your teammates before you’re about to go out and just try to take a game over by yourself. – Larry Bird

It’s been a journey, the NBA. It’s taken me a lot farther than I ever expected. – Larry Bird

But it is a black man’s game, and it will be forever. – Larry Bird

I think a lot of blue collar people related to me because a lot of people work for their money. – Larry Bird

The nature of competition is such that any number of people invariably have their eyes on the same prize you do. Recognize your assets and employ them to the best of your ability. – Larry Bird

I was always making decisions and they were easier decisions because I had control of the game, I had control of the ball. As a coach you sort of put the ball in other player’s hands and let them make decisions for you. But I still get a kick out of winning basketball games and that’s what I’m in this for. – Larry Bird

The one thing that always bothered me when I played in the NBA was I really got irritated when they put a white guy on me. – Larry Bird

I really don’t like talking about money. All I can say is that the Good Lord must have wanted me to have it. – Larry Bird

When I go to the line I’m thinking ‘All net.’ When I don’t think that, I’m likely to miss. – Larry Bird

I just shoot until I feel good. – Larry Bird

Michael Jordan is God disguised as a basketball player. – Larry Bird

I used to love the feeling of running, of running too far. It made my skin tingle. – Larry Bird

I knew I was as good as anybody. That’s not really bragging; it’s just that I’d put the time in. – Larry Bird

Eminem. My son was listening to that and I was like, “What is that junk?” Then I started listening and I thought, You know, that kid is pretty good. It’s the storytelling. – Larry Bird

When I was young, I never wanted to leave the court until I got things exactly correct. My dream was to become a pro. – Larry Bird

Before every game I used to go out and shot the same shots over and over and over. In the summer time I spent a lot of time just shooting. So really it just came natural. Whether it’s a tie game or down by 1 or up by five, it was always the same shot. So I always felt comfortable with the ball in my hands because it was in there a million times before. – Larry Bird

Maybe it’s God disguised as Michael Jordan. – Larry Bird

While day by day the overzealous student stores up facts for future use, he who has learned to trust nature finds need for ever fewer external directions. He will discard formula after formula, until he reaches the conclusion: Let nature take its course. – Larry Bird

In the closing seconds of every game, I want the ball in my hands for the last shot – not in anybody else’s, not in anybody else’s in the world. – Larry Bird

Coaches can talk and talk and talk about something, but if you get it on tape and show it to them, it is so much more effective. – Larry Bird

My name’s been on this check for a week now. – Larry Bird

If you tell a teammate you’re ready to play as tough as you’re able to, you’d better go out there and do it. – Larry Bird

Once you are labeled ‘the best’ you want to stay up there, and you can’t do it by loafing around. – Larry Bird

You know when I played, you had me and Kevin (McHale) and some others throughout the league. I think it’s good for a fan base because as we all know the majority of the fans are white America. And if you just had a couple of white guys in there, you might get them a little excited. – Larry Bird

I wanted to compete at the highest level again – and that’s the NBA. – Larry Bird

I like being by myself. – Larry Bird

What’s better? Dogs or broomsticks? I mean will the world really ever know? – Larry Bird

I’ve got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end. – Larry Bird

Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds. – Larry Bird

I learned what my weaknesses were and I went out the next day to turn those weaknesses intro strengths. – Larry Bird

Leadership is diving for a loose ball, getting the crowd involved, getting other players involved. It’s being able to take it as well as dish it out. That’s the only way you’re going to get respect from the players. – Larry Bird

You can make all the excuses you want, but if you’re not mentally tough and you’re not prepared to play every night, you’re not going to win. – Larry Bird

I hate to lose more than I like to win. – Larry Bird

Practice habits were crucial to my development in basketball. I didn’t play against the toughest competition in high school, but one reason I was able to do well in college was that I mastered the fundamentals. You’ve got to have them down before you can even think about playing. – Larry Bird

I wasn’t real quick, and I wasn’t real strong. Some guys will just take off and it’s like, whoa. So I beat them with my mind and my fundamentals. – Larry Bird

There are many times when you are better off practicing than playing; but most people just don’t understand that – Larry Bird

Leadership is getting players to believe in you. If you tell a teammate you’re ready to play as tough as you’re able to, you’d better go out there and do it. Players will see right through a phony. And they can tell when you’re not giving it all you’ve got. – Larry Bird

You’re all playin’ for second place. – Larry Bird

I don’t think that once you get to one level, you can relax. You’ve got to keep pushing. – Larry Bird

You never make any of the shots you never take. 87% of the ones you do take, you’ll miss too. I make 110% of my shots. – Larry Bird

It doesn’t matter who scores the points, it’s who can get the ball to the scorer. – Larry Bird

Strength is not nearly as important as desire. I don’t think you can teach anyone desire. I think it’s a gift. I don’t know why I have it, but I do. – Larry Bird

First master the fundamentals. – Larry Bird

It makes me sick when I see a guy just stare at a loose ball and watch it go out of bounds. – Larry Bird

I’m a firm believer in that you play the way you practice. – Larry Bird

I don’t know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody – somewhere – was practicing more than me. – Larry Bird

As far as playing, I didn’t care who guarded me – red, yellow, black. I just didn’t want a white guy guarding me, because it’s disrespect to my game. – Larry Bird

Basketball has been my life and I worked at it so hard because I enjoyed it so much. – Larry Bird

The more you win, the better you’re gonna get. It grows on itself. – Larry Bird

When I was a kid, I never thought about anything. Never had to think about where I was going to school or what I was going to do. I just lived minute to minute. – Larry Bird

Won’t be much golf this off-season. It’s going to be a working summer. – Larry Bird

We’re still looking and seeing what we can do. We like our team, we’re very deep, but we don’t like where we’re at financially. We’ll see what we can do. – Larry Bird

We’re glad this is over with. We wanted to be patient with this one because Ronnie is a heck of a player and someone’s always going to take a chance on someone like that. – Larry Bird

Me and Reggie go way back. I’ve seen him from him developing as a young player to us retiring his jersey. That’s pretty awesome. – Larry Bird

Obviously, we’re very happy about getting a player of his caliber. He’s one of the best shooters in the league and we definitely feel he can come in and help us right away. – Larry Bird

I don’t have a problem with them having a dam. The problem is standing water on the road bed. Eventually, that water will erode the road bed and the road will then break up and cave in. – Larry Bird

I don’t believe that. How can they be affected? It’s the same thing every year. – Larry Bird

I can’t guarantee all our guys are going to be here, but the way we’ve been talking it seems like it will be a one-player-for-one or one-for-two trade. We’d like to keep all of our players. – Larry Bird

He was clearly frustrated. Ronnie thinks if we lose, we would have won the game if he had the ball every time. The offense bogs down at times, but it’s still a great offense. He held the ball a lot of times. Nothing frustrated me more than him not rebounding, but I didn’t go out in the public and say anything. – Larry Bird

He’s got great length and he’s one of the best shooters in the league. He gives us another dimension on the outside and hopefully that opens things up in the middle. – Larry Bird

I ain’t gonna sit here and blame it all on Ronnie, because other things happened, too. But in the pros, when you don’t win, people are disappointed. I see it and I’m disappointed, too. – Larry Bird

I admire the kid. Not for what he did, but how he’s come back and he’s worked and he’s done things to improve himself. I look for a great year out of him. – Larry Bird

I think what it came down to is that our owner wants to win and, in the end, we did this deal because we knew it would make us a better team. – Larry Bird

Like me, he plays the game to win, … Because of his intensity and desire to win, Ronnie’s a guy I would pay money to watch play. – Larry Bird

I think enough is enough. I think Ronnie will do fine, but not here. – Larry Bird

Over the last four, five years, you’ve seen some of the things, and maybe we did bend over too much for Ronnie to try to help him. But I can sleep good at night, knowing we did the best we could. – Larry Bird

Some guys can lead and some guys can’t. I have a lot of trust in Jermaine and I know he wants to be a good leader. But to just throw him in there and say, ‘OK, you’re our leader,’ that’s tough, especially when you’re injured a lot. You lead by example and not with words, and when you’re not out there every day in practice and games, it’s hard to lead. – Larry Bird

I think Rick will get him the ball. We have a problem now when we drop it in the post; we hold on to it too long. We need more movement with the shooters we have. I think you’ll see that. – Larry Bird

I think in another month we’ll know if the league will allow us to take him off our cap and give us some relief. – Larry Bird

I think he’s the right guy at the right time. Sometimes you need a wake-up call. We’ve got ours. – Larry Bird

I think he’ll make an immediate impact because of the skills that he has. – Larry Bird

It depends on what players are offered. The owners have a say in this, too. They want to do the right thing. If we get a good offer, we’ll probably take the player. If we don’t get good offers, we’ll probably take the (draft) choice and do more scouting this winter and prepare for the draft. I think we’ll get a good player out of this. – Larry Bird

My best friend missed three one-and-ones. I still get mad at him for that. – Larry Bird

We can’t let that type of stuff happen. I’ve been talking to (Harrison) at least once a week. Not only David, but everybody, has to clean that junk up. It’s uncalled for. We don’t like it, the fans don’t like it. That stuff is going to be taken care of. – Larry Bird

We would like to get a deal done. We’re looking at every option. Teams continue to call us every day, but we’re going to do what’s right for the franchise and not just do a deal to do one. We want somebody who is going to fit in with this team. – Larry Bird

We weren’t really interested in what teams were talking about. We haven’t had our team together for two years. I like how we’re playing now. We need to get everybody back and look at the product before we make any type of decision on whether we want to do anything this summer. – Larry Bird

Consistency has been one of our biggest problems. I don’t see anybody on our team that you can depend on every night to do the same thing. One night they’re up, and one night they’re down. If you know what you’re getting from each player, it’s pretty easy as far as coaching. When it’s inconsistent, you don’t know what you’re going to get and it makes it hard to substitute. – Larry Bird

There’s going to be some changes in the way they play. It’s like they’re just going through the motions out there at times. We’ve talked to them and expressed our frustrations, and if it continues to happen, we’ll probably have to look in another direction, because one thing we’re going to do is put a competitive team out on the court. – Larry Bird

The right guy at the right time after Athens and the World Championships, … This is the type of guy we need. After 2004 we needed a wake up call and we got ours. – Larry Bird

That’s wild. That is really wild. That’s a lot of points, I’m telling you. There’s no question how good he is, but when you start throwing numbers around like that, it’s unbelievable. It would be hard to believe if you didn’t know it was true. – Larry Bird

This franchise needs to get into the playoffs. You get into the playoffs, and things can happen. Obviously, we’re not going to win a championship, but maybe it’s something we can build off of for next year. – Larry Bird

There were a lot of doubts. I had an opportunity to play against Reggie. After the first two or three times, there was no doubt they made the right decision. – Larry Bird

There were some concerns, but I’m a little different. I think we will get a commitment out of our best young players. And the guys that are young now won’t be so young by the time (the 2008 Summer Games) comes. – Larry Bird

About all our good high school players are going out of state. …That’s something that probably hurts more than anything. It’s very important to try to keep our kids in-state. That’s how you have an identity. – Larry Bird

It seemed like our team was going to the West Coast, stopping off at cities and our players were worried about being traded. Our time for excuses are over. – Larry Bird

Any time you deal a player, you would like him to go out of the conference. We’re looking at the West, but if it’s the East, that’s how it’s going to be. Whether we get a draft choice or a player, we’re going to make sure it’s the right deal. We’ve done enough to back Ronnie. We’re in a position where we have to protect the franchise now. – Larry Bird

I never dreamed that it would be like this. We’re very disappointed in the fact that we had the guys here to do it and to get off to the start we did is very frustrating. We’ve gone downhill since then. But hopefully we’re back on the right track and we can move forward. – Larry Bird

I like the way we’re playing. Not just because we’re winning games, but because of the way we’re moving the ball. It seems like we’re coming together. We’ll win a lot of games doing that. – Larry Bird

If there’s a deal out there where we think we can better our team, we will do it. – Larry Bird

I don’t know if this is the right wording, but I felt betrayed. We’re disappointed. Things happen, maybe it’s a good thing. He’s a very talented player. I always liked working with him and how he went about things on the basketball court. He’s a top-12 player in the league, but we’re in a situation where we have to move on. – Larry Bird

Hoosiers love this place. The high school game has produced a lot of legendary stories, and those stories get told here. – Larry Bird

I am very happy for DJ. As a former teammate and friend, Dennis is a good person and I am sure he will do a great job. – Larry Bird

He’s made as many clutch shots as anybody who has ever played this game. – Larry Bird

I believe God was disguised as Michael Jordan today. – Larry Bird

You can’t walk in there after a couple of months off and expect to play in the playoffs. He’s definitely going to have to play some games before the playoffs. There’s no question about that. The playoffs are completely different. – Larry Bird

When I was a player, I didn’t expect my teammates to play the way I did. I did expect them to work hard hard every day and get better. And I never learned anything by losing. – Larry Bird

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