|After 25 years, Larry Bird’s number 33 will be officially retired by Indiana State University and take its rightful place in the rafters of Hulman Center, the arena he helped pack during his days as a Sycamore. A three-year letterman for the Sycamores, Bird helped guide the 1979 team to a 33-1 mark and an appearance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s championship game. Bird was the only Sycamore to be named to the all-tournament team, and although ISU finished runner-up to Michigan State the Sycamores were declared the Associated Press and United Press International National Champions after capturing the Missouri Valley Conference crown. |
Bird holds 29 school records, including the top spot on ISU’s all-time scoring list with 2,850 points. His 30.3 points per game career scoring average is 15th best in the history of the NCAA. His 1,247 career rebounds are also tops in school history, while his 13.3 rebounds per game average is ninth best in the NCAA modern era. The consummate teammate, Bird is tied for first place in steals (240) and fifth all-time in assists (435) at ISU. During his career Bird recorded 83 blocked shots, fourth best at ISU.
The only player in school history to earn All-American honors for three seasons, Bird was recognized as the National Player of the Year by The Sporting News, Basketball Times, Basketball Weekly, along with the AP and UPI. His accomplishments on the floor earned him the prestigious Wooden Award, along with the Eastman Kodak and Joe Lapchick Awards. He was recently ranked as one of the top ten collegiate basketball players of all time by Street and Smith’s Magazine.
Along with national honors, the Missouri Valley Conference named Bird its Player of the Year in 1978 and 1979 after leading the MVC in scoring for three consecutive seasons. He was named league MVP in each of his final two seasons with ISU, and also garnered First Team All-MVC plaudits.
During his time at ISU, Bird recorded 74 double-doubles in 94 career games. Bird scored 30 points or more on 45 different occasions, and posted 40-plus points 13 different times. He failed to score in double figures just once as a Sycamore, shooting 53 percent from the floor and 82 percent from the free throw line.