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YouTube Gold: Why Larry Bird’s Shooting Fell Off In The NBA

Yes it’s true.

Boston Celtics
Boston Celtic Larry Bird

Larry Bird is a towering figure in NBA history, famous for his trash talk, his astounding passing eye and his ability to shoot.

But what most people don't know is that his shooting ability was, if not limited, then certainly changed after he finished at Indiana State.

Bird was playing softball and tried to trap a ball in his glove. Somehow, the index finger on his right hand - his shooting hand - got bent way far back.

The next day he found out that he had done some really serious damage and that surgery was required.

He had not yet signed with the Celtics so this was an existential threat to his career.

Eventually Boston found out and called him in. Red Auerbach took him in the gym and said he looked fine but Bird said that, after that, he never quite regained his full shooting ability. And when you think about how good he was, that’s amazing. Here’s a good shot that shows what his finger looked like.