Wow great:Call it George Brett syndrome” – How Larry Bird’s brothers played a pivotal role in him becoming a great basketball player

Call it George Brett syndrome” – How Larry Bird’s brothers played a pivotal role in him becoming a great basketball player

Hailing from the small town of French Lick in Indiana, Larry Bird’s upbringing unfolded amid his elder brothers. This competitive and challenging environment pushed him to be better than most through a ‘George Brett syndrome’ and enabled him to outshine his peers from an early age.

Larry Bird developed habits from his older brothers

In his book ‘Wish It Lasted Forever: Life With the Larry Bird Celtics,’ Dan Shaughnessy recounted a pivotal aspect of the three-time MVP’s childhood, wherein, despite being the tallest boy in his first-grade class, Bird had to exert considerable effort to outshine his more dominant older brothers.

“Younger brothers often make the best ballplayers…. Children who grow up chasing older siblings’ play up,’ and it’s an advantage when they start playing against kids their own age. Call it George Brett syndrome (the Hall of Fame third baseman had three ball-playing brothers). Larry Bird was a classic case,” Shaughnessy wrote. “He played ball because his older brothers played ball. Mark and Mike made him tough and better than most kids his own age.”

It wasn’t just catchup that a young Larry did; he also instilled specific adaptations. Engaging in fierce competition, the young Larry Legend imbibed peculiar habits, like the practice of wiping his hands on the soles of his sneakers to enhance floor traction. Intriguingly, this instinctive routine became a signature move for Larry and he did this in every game he played until the day he retired from the NBA.

While Larry’s older brothers significantly influenced his path to NBA stardom, his blue-collar father also had a huge role to play. For Bird, his father instilled in him a relentless determination and a daily commitment to excel.

“One thing I got from my father was his determination to go to work no matter what,” Bird said. “I’ve never seen him cry about being sick. Even when I got injured, I never see him say, ‘Well, we gotta miss work tomorrow.’ Even if I have an injury I try to play through it.”

He might’ve not hailed from a privileged background like some of his contemporaries, but Bird’s challenging childhood was a crucial factor in shaping him into the greatest Boston Celtics player of all time.

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