The Philadelphia 76ers have been a historically terrible team, but they’ve had one of the most exciting players in the league this year. Joel Embiid is a center for the 76ers and he has been a huge part of their success this season. In fact, he’s been so good that he was recently named an All-Star starter.
I Knew It Was a Banquet and All That, but I Didn’t Care is an essay by the author J.D. Salinger that was first published in The New Yorker on January 7th, 1953.
A lot of professional sportsmen nowadays are fashion conscious. The trek from the parking lot to the locker room has turned into a fashion display, with everyone from Patrick Mahomes to Russell Westbrook strutting their stuff. Larry Bird, on the other hand, would have most likely caused a stir for the wrong reasons.
Larry Legend, despite his celebrity and wealth, wanted to do things his way and keep things simple. Take, for example, the time he won the NBA MVP Award in 1984. Instead of dressing up in a suit, the Boston Celtics player opted for a short-sleeved shirt and trousers. That decision, understandably, raised a few questions.
During the 1983-84 season, Larry Bird won his first of three NBA MVP awards.
Bird is now known for being more than simply a basketball player. The forward is regarded as a living legend who has won championships while also trash-talking opponents. While the picture isn’t completely inaccurate, it does miss the forest through the trees. Larry Legend was a one-of-a-kind artist.
Bird’s collegiate career almost ended prematurely after an unpleasant stint at Indiana University, but he flourished at Indiana State. The Sycamores may not have won the NCAA championship in 1979 (thanks to Magic Johnson and Michigan State), but Larry Legend more than held his own. Over three collegiate seasons, he averaged 30.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, before moving to Boston.
The forward didn’t skip a beat with the Celtics. He sailed to Rookie of the Year honors in 1980 and only got better from there. Boston quickly regained NBA prominence, capturing the title in 1981, with Larry Legend at the helm.
However, in 1984, he pushed things to a new level. Bird not only led the Celtics to another championship, but he also won the NBA Finals MVP award and the regular-season MVP award. Lary Legend didn’t have his greatest season, averaging 24.2 points and 10.1 rebounds, but he was still more worthy of the #1 position.
While the superstar wasn’t finished yet — by the time he retired in 1992, he’d won three NBA championships and three MVP awards – his 1984 triumph set the tone for an uncomfortable award presentation.
Receiving the NBA MVP while on vacation
Larry Bird, a member of the Boston Celtics, poses at home in his casual clothing. | Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images
The NBA nevertheless held its 1984 awards ceremony in Salt Lake City, Utah, even if the production value wasn’t nearly as high as it is now. Larry Legend was hesitant to go despite the fact that he was about to earn one of the game’s highest awards.
There was considerable uncertainty that Bird would even attend the event, as Anthony Cotton described in a Washington Post article (H/T Los Angeles Times). Despite the fact that Kevin McHale was set to receive the MVP trophy in his place, the forward did come in Utah. Larry Legend, on the other hand, was determined to do things his way.
Even those who had anticipated his arrival were caught off guard by what they witnessed. In a short-sleeved sport shirt and blue trousers, Bird stood to receive his prize among the finery and costly designer outfits.
The Washington Post’s Anthony Cotton
Although Bird’s choice of attire may seem to be a minor breach of event etiquette — after all, the forward didn’t walk up in a bathing suit — it nonetheless raised some questions. Cotton claimed that “more than a few individuals were disgusted.”
Larry Legend, predictably, had a simple explanation for his actions.
He said, “All I know is that it was summer, which is vacation time for me, and I wear anything I want while I’m on vacation.” “It would have been much simpler for them to just put the award in a box and ship it to Boston, where we could have had a lovely party….” I was aware that it was a dinner, but it didn’t bother me.”
On the topic of his attire, the forward also exuded some of his trademark swagger.
Bird said, “Just because the league asked me to do something didn’t mean I had to.” “What’s amusing about people being upset because I didn’t wear a suit is that I could purchase two for the price of one, so what’s the difference?”
For Larry Bird, the maneuver was nothing out of the norm.
Jan Volkas, the Celtics’ general manager, was cited in the Washington Post article as stating he wasn’t sure whether Bird even had a suit. While the remark was perhaps a little exaggerated, we do know that the forward liked simplicity.
“What most impresses the people who know Bird — from his few new friends in Boston to those in Terre Haute, Indiana State’s home town, to the French Lickers who have known him since he was an itty-bitty thing with a basketball under his arm — is that nothing has changed him,” John Papanek explained in a 1981 Sports Illustrated feature. “Not the celebrity,” says the speaker. Not because of the money, which is $650,000 per year. Nothing.”
Larry Legend, according to the tale, discovered pleasure in a few simple pleasures. You’ll notice that wearing suits, going to banquets, and receiving prizes aren’t on the list.
“The ideal team player in the definitive team game still wears blue jeans and baseball hats, and being alone with a basketball and a goal to shoot at still gives him a third of his joy. “Being a member of a team contributes another third,” Papanek added. “Winning, mowing his yard, drinking beer, shooting squirrels, fishing, playing golf, and being with friends and family provide the remainder of his pleasure.”
Whatever you think of Larry Bird’s dress choices, he was a guy who obviously understood who he was.
Sports-Reference and Basketball-Reference provided the statistics.
Larry Bird’s $24 million career was ruined when he built a driveway for his mother: ‘I was wondering whether I was going to be in a wheelchair.’
The the folk of the air quotes is a poem that was written by Edwin Arlington Robinson. It was published in 1894 and is about a man who goes to a banquet for his friend’s funeral, but he doesn’t care about what happens.
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