Boston Celtics fans have waited a long time. Larry Bird was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, but he didn’t make his professional debut until 1979. Unable to strike a contractual deal, Bird opted to return to school. for another year. He eventually made a deal and played his first match on October 12, 1979.
The Boston Garden was in turmoil with a rare sold-out sale. The anticipation of seeing Bird in Green was very high. When all was said and done, the game’s storyline revolved around Celtics shooting guard Chris Ford.
Rookie Larry Bird was the talk of Boston
Negotiations to bring Bird to Boston have been heated between Celtics president Red Auerbach and players’ agent Bob Woolf. After Boston selected Bird in 1978, the parties were far apart in the negotiations as Auerbach said the Indiana State star was not a franchise player and should not be paid as such.
“Larry Bird can help, but it’s not a franchise,” Auerbach told Woolf, according to Sports Illustrated. “Damn, you gotta keep your self-esteem. After all, he can’t play on his own.
He stopped in June 1979, the month of the draft. If no deal was reached, Bird would return to the draft. The two parties eventually came to an agreement with Bird signing a five-year contract worth $ 650,000 per season.
Excitement raged around Boston. Ticket sales jumped 25% and bird watching was on. Finally, there was some hope for Celtics basketball.
Larry Bird made his NBA debut on October 12, 1979, but Chris Ford made gaming history
In front of a crowd of 15,320 at the Boston Garden, Bird made his NBA debut on October 12, 1979. The Celtics hosted Moses Malone and the Houston Rockets and were looking for a quick start to the season to improve on their 29-53 year mark. former.
Bird did not disappoint, but he was hardly spectacular. He finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 114-106 victory. He played 28 minutes and was 6 for 12 from the floor and made his two free throws.
With all eyes on the rookie, much of the post-game talk focused on shooter Chris Ford. Ford played 27 minutes and finished with 17 points. He went 7 for 15 from the ground and 2 for 2 from the line. Ford made NBA history with one of his field goals when he logged in on the first 3 point in NBA history.
Ford’s long-range shot was the only one the Celtics made in the game. They attempted three in total, with Bird and Dave Cowens failing. The Rockets were a bit more aggressive in their 3-point shots but were only connected on one as well. Rick Barry represented Houston as the team finished 1-10 in the long distance.
Chris Ford was then head coach of the Boston Celtics
Ford made 70 3-pointers during the 1979-80 NBA season. He shot 43% from long distance, with 70 for 164. He played two seasons after that and finished his career with 126 for 336 from beyond the arc.
At the end of his playing career, Ford was assistant coach of the Celtics from 1983 to 1990. He took over as head coach for the 1990-91 season. In his first two seasons, he led the Celtics to over 50 winning seasons and first place in the Atlantic Division.
Ford coached five seasons with the Celtics, finishing 222-188. He was also the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers. His career coaching record is 323-376.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.
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