Bird Drops 20 Pounds During '84 Playoffs

August 1984

When we last saw him, he was standing in triumph on a balcony at City Hall, exciting the masses before him with nonbiblical reference to someone named Moses and saying there was only one other place he would rather be. French Lick.

With that, Larry Bird adjourned to Indiana and did what you hoped he would do, have one helluva summer for himself, digging into that garage filled with six-packs and getting it on with some of the good old boys back home.

"I was worn out. Beat. I was playing those games at the end of the season on emotion. Everything was drained when it was over," says Bird, who started the playoffs tipping the scales at 235, but finished the Celtics' championship season at 215. He has since beefed up to 222, relaxing and leading the good life with his friends. His ideal playing weight is about 230.

"I had a great summer. It was nice going home like that and seeing how much my friends enjoyed it. That made it even better for me. It was the first time since my sophomore year in college that I could just relax and enjoy myself.

"Getting that championship meant a lot to me. I won't say that it was like carrying a burden around, but I think that, now we've got it, I think I can just go out and have more fun playing the game. I feel so good that I'm ready to start the season right know. But I'm glad that we won't be getting started for awhile. Squirrel season is starting and I want to get back home for that."

Bird cooled himself out with a little hunting, fishing, and some basketball in a summer league, consisting mostly of college players and guys he has played with most of his life. "I just played a couple of games a week for kicks. I didn't shoot. It was just a way to have some fun."

Bird is back in town working at the Celtics' rookie camp this week and preparing for his own basketball school at Camp Milbrook in Marshfield next week. He is not concerned about his weight or the loss of his shooting touch, which has earned him the worst shooting percentage of the group in scrimmages at the camp this week.

"My weight will get back to what it should be once I start working regular in training camp. Last year, inthe early part of the season I picked up some kind of virus or flu, and it stuck with me for awhile. I lost about 20 pounds and got down to about 208. My shooting is off because I just haven't worked at it. When I go home I'll start shooting more and work at it before we get to camp.

"I feel we are going to have another great season. We have the talent to play with anyone. You hear talk about people gunning for us because we're the world champions. My opinion is that they were gunning for us before that because we are the Celtics. Like, when we go on the road the big crowds are always there. This year I think we'll beat the teams we should beat on talent, and then go out and play the top teams as hard as we can."

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