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Bird Watching: On Playing and Coaching the Game I Love [Mass Market Paperback]

Pat Riley , Larry Bird , Jackie Macmullan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books (Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446608882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446608886
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 10.7 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,939,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The first sentence of Larry Bird's candid post-player memoir begins blandly enough: "On August 18, 1992, I announced my retirement from the Boston Celtics." It's the one that follows--"It was one of the happiest days of my life"--that sets the tone for the book. Most stars have to be pulled off centre stage, but as Bird Watching makes clear, the former Celtic legend who returned home to eventually coach the Indiana Pacers is certainly a rare bird. He's not afraid to ruffle feathers. And he's not afraid to tell his truth.

Perhaps the most striking revelations concern his heart. On top of the back pain that plagued him through much of his career, from time to time Bird experienced the feeling--and disorienting flush- -of an irregular heartbeat, which he kept hidden from the Celtics. Even now, in the stress-filled world of coaching, Bird has almost passed out on the bench a couple of times--but he remains a fierce competitor. "I'm not going to be stupid about this heart condition, but I'm not going to live my whole life in fear of this thing either. If it goes, it goes."

Bird Watchingspends virtually no time with Bird the player; he's not one for looking back. He's more interested in explaining his evolution and thinking as a coach, examining the current state of the NBA and picking apart the Pacer's disastrous 1999 playoff loss to the Knicks. He does, however, reminisce upon his amazing connection to Magic Johnson, comparing it to the connection between Ali and Frazier. "I knew it was going to be like that forever after I played him in college for the national championship," Bird writes. "I never came up against anyone, other than Magic, who could challenge me mentally. Magic always took me to the limit." From Bird, it's hard to imagine a more heartfelt compliment. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Synopsis

The basketball player-turned-coach shares his thoughts on his NBA career and offers insights into the game, its strategies, and today's NBA players, coaches, and teams. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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On August 18, 1992, I announced my retirement from the Boston Celtics. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read but... 21 Jun 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Larry Bird was the inspiration for a love of basketball that has lasted for over 25 years of my life so far and this book isn't an easy read. There is a lack of fluidity to the writing but the main issue for me is the subject matter. It wasn't easy to read because part of me wanted to ignore the pain that Bird went through to continue playing for as long as he did and also the way that his time with the Celtics was blighted by the politics of the front office.
Uncomfortable, yes, but it is an important archive of what goes on in the mind of one of basketball's greatest.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for Bird fans and sports fans! 14 Jan 2000
By Rachel M. Stenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have read what I thought all there was to know about the greatest baskeball player of all-time. But through this book, I have learned more about the legendary Bird. The book takes you through the later years of Bird's injured-plagued career and through his first years coaching the Pacers. He walks us through his struggles and joys of coaching a team he plans will make the NBA Finals. The book shows me what I truly love about Larry Bird. A book not to be missed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must buy for Bird fans; a quick but very interesting read 18 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is virtually required reading for any fan of the Celtics, Pacers, or Larry Bird. If you ever wondered what Bird's thoughts were regarding his late-career injuries, his role with the Dream Team, his days in the Celtic front office, or his becoming a first-time NBA head coach, you're in luck. Larry Legend lays it all out in straightforward, no-bull fashion. While the book could hardly be labeled a "tell-all expose," it does contain a number of surprising revelations: his previously unknown heart condition, the machinations in the Celtic organization which wound up with the hiring of Rick Pitino, what Bird thought of certain former teammates and opponents, and so on. The book is a relatively quick read, even at approx. 320 pages, but I found it highly entertaining. I confess to being a big Bird fan before I ever read this book, but even if you're not, I suspect you'll come away duly impressed by the man's humility, honesty, and intelligence. As for the book's co-writer, Jackie MacMullan, it's impossible to know how much of the wording, tone, and style is hers vs. Larry's, but my impression is that she was true to her subject. In addition, I suspect her considerable writing skills were instrumental in creating such a smooth, concise work. Who'd have guessed that Larry Bird, painfully shy and inarticulate as a young man, would ever produce a candid and interesting book like this? The Hick from French Lick surprises us all again!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Valuable Book 19 Nov 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Bird Watching is one of those rare books that captures both the man, his courage, yet his simplicity. This book is chock full of surprises and funny stories. Jackie MacMullan, who writes so well for Sports Illustrates, has really slam dunked her first book
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bird Watching: On Playing and Coaching the Game I Love 10 Dec 2002
By Kyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Bird Watching, an autobiography by Larry Bird, is a story for any lover of sports. Bird Watching is a detailed account of the life of Larry Bird, from his NBA career with the Boston Celtics to his coaching position with the Indiana Pacers. After reading the first page of the book, the reader realizes there is more to this NBA legend than meets the eye.
Unlike most professional basketball players, Larry Bird never regretted the day he left the NBA and even says that the day he retired was "one of the happiest days of [his] life." Faced with chronic back problems and an irregular heart, Bird was happy to see the day when he no longer had to endure the pain of playing the sport he loved more than anything. Coming from the man himself, the story describes Bird's life in a detailed and personal manner. From beginning to end, the reader easily notices the uniqueness of this man's character and not only sees, but feels the impact this incredible man left on so many fellow players, fans, and loved ones.
I thought this was a great book, especially for a sports fan. I felt that for a sport's book, it was particularly well written. The author's style allows the reader to get a personal glimpse of the life of Larry Bird and causes the reader to feel as if they knew this NBA legend. Because of the story's subject, the author employs very few literary devices. However, the author uses many similes in describing Bird's injuries, allowing the reader to appreciate Bird's choice in leaving the NBA. The book lacks an overall dominant theme, but simply wishes to convey the story of one of the greatest and most unique basketball players of all time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light, entertaining read -- no more, no less. 23 Mar 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I enjoyed the book. It's perfect for the airplane or doctor's office. Interesting, entertaining, but easy to put down and pick back up. Not great writing, not great literature -- but, hey, it's not supposed to be.
The gossip about the Celtics was fun and I thought that was the strongest part of the book. The chapters on Magic and Jordan are weak in comparison.
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