Larry Bird: Pacers want Lance Stephenson back

Lance Stephenson LeBron James ear

Given the way Lance Stephenson acted during the playoffs and over the second half of the season, many have assumed his time with the Indiana Pacers has come to a close. The 23-year-old will be a free agent this summer, and Pacers president Larry Bird seems like he has had enough of Stephenson’s antics. Still, Bird claims he isn’t done with Stephenson.

“I think his ceiling is what he wants it to be,” Bird told reporters on Monday. “I always want him back. You just don’t let talent like that walk away if you can help it.”

While he claims he is hoping to keep Stephenson, Bird did once again admit that he was disappointed in some of the former Cincinnati star’s childish antics during the postseason.

“I was very disappointed that in Game 5, Paul George put on a spectacular display, hit every big shot and after the game, everyone was talking about all the nonsense,” Bird added. “That’s not what we’re about, and it’s not professional.”

Pacers coach Frank Vogel also said that he is “certainly hoping that he’s back” when asked about Stephenson. Bird recently announced that Vogel’s job is safe and he will be back with the team next season.

If Stephenson could knock off the bulls–t, he could be an extremely valuable member of any team. It’s one thing to get under your opponent’s skin and knock them off their game. It’s another to make yourself look like a fool while providing the game’s best player with added motivation.

Larry Bird to Lance Stephenson: No more blowing in ears

Lance Stephenson LeBron James ear

Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird was one of the most notorious trash talkers in the NBA during his Hall of Fame career with the Boston Celtics. Bird rarely stopped running his mouth on the court, but he almost always backed it up. And he definitely didn’t blow in anyone’s ear.

On Thursday, Bird was asked if he was bothered by Lance Stephenson blowing on LeBron James during Game 5. He was very blunt about it.

“Yes I am,” he told USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt in a text message.

Bird’s displeasure with Stephenson’s childish antics became even more clear on Friday, when reporters started asking the 23-year-old about the infamous incident.

Reynolds also noted that Stephenson was asked by a reporter how he thought blowing in LeBron’s ear helped the Pacers. Before he could answer, a Pacers PR person told Stephenson, “Lance, go shoot.”

Pacers coach Frank Vogel also said on Thursday that the team does not condone what Stephenson did.

“Blowing in his face probably crosses the line,” Vogel explained. “That’s not really who we are. We want to be a competitive team, but we don’t want to cross the line.”

Stephenson isn’t throwing cheap shots or trying to injure anyone. He’s trying to get under the Heat’s skin any way he can, and he’s embarrassing himself in the process. The fact that Bird and Vogel both refused to stand behind the former Cincinnati star in the middle of a crucial playoff series tells you everything you need to know.

This is how Larry Bird looks when his Pacers are tanking (GIF)

Larry Bird reactionThe Indiana Pacers are a dumpster fire right about now, and what better represents the tanking disaster they’ve become than the facial reaction of Larry Bird on Thursday night?

That was Bird’s face after walking mess Roy Hibbert turn the ball over in the second quarter. And right before the turnover, Kyle Korver hit a 3-pointer to make it a 37-32 game.

Yes, the 38-44 Atlanta Hawks, who were entering the season in rebuilding mode and didn’t even care about making the playoffs (seriously), are now leading the Pacers 2-1 in their series.

These Pacers are about to go down as one of the biggest disasters in league history. And the front office really messed up this team with some bad moves.

GIF via @_marcusd_

Larry Bird was so bored while injured that he ate seven wedding cakes

Larry-Bird-calls-Pacers-softBoston Celtics legend Larry Bird only appeared in six games during the 1988-1989 season due to back and Achilles injuries. One year removed from averaging 29.9 points per game, the then 34-year-old had begun to break down. However, Bird found something else to dominate in his frustrating absence from the basketball court — his refrigerator.

Hall of Fame sportswriter Jack McCallum’s book “Unfinished Business,” a chronicle of the 1990-1991 Celtics, recently became available as an e-book. On Monday, Deadspin highlighted a legendary Bird quote from the book where he talked about his eating habits while he was recovering from injury.

‘I think I wanna be active,’ said Bird. ‘What I might do, though, is git in shape, git outta shape, then git in shape again. I won’t do it like I used to, though. It’s gittin’ tougher. Three years ago I could lose fifteen pounds like nuthin’. Now? I don’t know if I could.’ He had put on a few pounds when he was out of action, but he wasn’t sure how many. ‘I was so bored, I’d set around the house, drive my wife crazy, and eat and eat. In two and a half weeks I was off I ate ten gallons of ice cream and seven weddin’ cakes. Why them? I ate weddin’ cakes ’cause you knew they was gonna be good. I mean, who would [eff] up a weddin’ cake?'”

Only the most seasoned of foodies could have that type of an opinion about cake. Not only that, but only an NBA star could afford to get his hands on seven wedding cakes. Does that mean he bought custom wedding cakes just did eat? Did he have someone go around to various function halls and purchase the leftover cake?

The rest of the cake from my wedding (November 2012) is still sitting in the freezer. I’m getting sick of looking at it, and it’s taking up space. Needless to say, I can’t imagine eating seven of them in under three weeks. Bird had to have been joking, right?

H/T Ball Don’t Lie

Paul George: Larry Bird has still got it

Larry-Bird-calls-Pacers-softBoston Celtics legend Larry Bird was one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, but he is 56 years old now. Most men in their 50s have to start thinking about things like reading glasses and blood pressure medication. Bird could be tending to needs like those, but apparently he has not entirely lost his shooting ability.

During an interview with SLAM Online last week (via NBA.com’s All Ball), Indiana Pacers forward Paul George told a story about how Bird blew him away one day in practice when he picked up a ball and began shooting.

“He picked a ball up that had rolled over,” George said. “He rolled up his sleeves and made about 15 in a row and just walked out like nothing just happened. It was the craziest thing I’ve seen. … We were speechless. We didn’t know whether to keep shooting or just to end practice. It was sweet, man.”

Celtics fans who watched Bird dominate in the 1980s probably aren’t surprised. There’s a reason Kobe Bryant recently noted that Larry Legend is one of the most underrated players to ever play when he listed his all-time starting five. Either he hasn’t lost the touch, or he still throws up plenty of jumpshots in his spare time.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Kobe Bryant gives his all-time starting five, highlighted by Larry Bird

Kobe BryantOne of the most popular questions radio hosts have decided to ask current and former NBA players lately is who they would select for an all-time starting five. Given how many Hall of Famers have played the game over the past six decades, the answers tend to vary. During an interview with John Ireland and Mike Trudell on ESPN LA 710 on Wednesday, Kobe Bryant gave his take.

“It’s not very difficult for me,” Kobe said. “I’d go Magic (Johnson), (Michael) Jordan, (Larry) Bird, (Bill) Russell and (Kareem Abdul-Jabar).”

Trudell apparently had the same exact team as Bryant, so Ireland informed him of a team that they say could beat Kobe’s and Trudell’s all-time starting five. That team consisted of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Oscar Robinson, Tim Duncan and Wilt Chamberlain. Kobe agreed that neither one of those teams would dominate the other and that it would be competitive, but he made it a point to discuss how underrated he feels Bird has become.

“I will say as the years go on people really forget how great Larry Bird was,” Bryant said. “He was ridiculous. And I grew up in LA — just like everyone else here — hating his guts. But the guy was just money.”

That has to hurt coming from a Laker legend, but it’s the truth. Personally, I feel that Bird is a much better overall player than Scottie Pippen, although Pippen did make his way into Karl Malone’s all-time starting five and Jason Kidd’s lineup as well. Those of you who were expecting LeBron James to make his way onto the list — get real. This is Kobe’s all-time starting five. King James never stood a chance.

Larry Bird’s son arrested for allegedly trying to run over his ex-girlfriend

Conner Bird mug shot

Larry Bird’s 21-year-old son Conner was arrested by Indiana University campus police Sunday for allegedly being a naughty boy.

Bird and his ex-girlfriend reportedly argued at his apartment Saturday, and he allegedly threw a cell phone at her which hit her in the wrist.

According to Inc Now, the ex-girlfriend walked to her home and says Bird was waiting there in his car when she arrived. She says she got into his car and they drove to a parking lot at Memorial Stadium where they continued to argue. The woman reportedly says she got out to walk home, and she alleges Bird chased her in his car and tried running her over. She was able to contact a campus police officer to complain. Bird was later arrested by campus police.

Bird was taken to Monroe County Jail after his arrest, according to ABC 6 in Indianapolis. He is facing charges of intimidation with a deadly weapon, battery resulting in bodily harm, criminal recklessness and possession of marijuana. The AP says he was no longer in custody as of Tuesday.