I write this simply to say thanks, Larry Bird I do basketball because of you.Read down to see reason 👇👇

Julius Erving, aka Dr. J, made me fall in love with the game. Bird turned it into an obsession.

I would read how Bird often spent six or seven hours a day shooting baskets in his driveway — rain, sleet, snow, didn’t matter. Sometimes, Bird played until his hands cracked, blistered and bled.

Sometimes, he played with swollen ankles, broken fingers or the flu. He just played, and I made sure to play through all of that, too.

I was just a kid who didn’t know any better when Bird was in his prime. No one told me that only about, oh, 12 guys shorter than 6-foot have ever made an impact in the NBA. I thought I could make it. I dreamed I could be on that court, even for just one second, because I worshiped the game like Bird.

Never happened, of course. I did make it to college. I did get a scholarship. I did become the only player shorter than 6-foot-0 in our conference. I even set the school record for 3-pointers in a game (seven). It lasted a whopping five months.

But Bird is the main reason I turned my absolute obsession for the game into a career. I learned to write (or at least tried) so I could write about basketball.

It’s the offseason, a season for reflection. That’s why I write this column about a once-in-a-lifetime player.

A player who helped shape my life — as odd as that may be for a grown man to say about a complete stranger.

But I write this for me as much for me as I do the reader.

I write this simply to say thanks, Larry Bird. I do basketball because of you.

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