March 5, 2009

What do you mean Larry Bird wasn't Black?

Interesting tid-bits from this article , from Seth Davis' book, about Billy Packer, CBS, and Larry Bird from the legendary 1979 NCAA March Madness.

This story is legendary! Figures "Big Shot" Bobby Heaton is on one of the sickest stories (there are millions more) about Bird you'd ever hear. If you'll excuse me I have to go vomit in my waste basket...

"One of reasons college basketball fans were drawn to the compelling 1979 national championship game between Indiana State and Michigan State was the diverging opinion NBC-TV broadcasters Al McGuire and Billy Packer had about Indiana State.
In his new book, "When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball," author Seth Davis chronicles the differences McGuire and Packer had about the No. 1 worthiness of the Sycamores.
"Packer spent much of the season casting doubt as to whether Indiana State was really as perfect as its record indicated," Davis writes.
In February of that season, when No. 1 Notre Dame lost to No. 3 UCLA, Jim Simpson asked his partners for that game, McGuire and Packer, if No. 2 Indiana State deserved to move to the top spot.
McGuire said yes; Packer said no.
"I knew Al didn't know a player on Indiana State except Larry Bird, and he had never seen them play," Packer tells Davis. "I said, how can you make that statement? Who have they played? How can they be number one?"
So unpopular was Packer in Terre Haute, Ind., that NBC decided not to send him to Indiana State's last home game, against Wichita State. McGuire and Simpson handled it. Indiana State won, 109-84, and viewers finally got to see Bird play.
Up to this point, Davis writes, many people thought Bird was black.
"All the next week I got lots of calls from my friends back in Denver who saw the game," said Bob Heaton, Bird's roommate and teammate. "They couldn't believe Larry Bird was a white guy."
Packer warmed to Bird and Indiana State when he called two of their games in successive weeks.
"He was slow and couldn't jump, but I saw the son of a gun can really pass, and he's tough and nasty," Packer said."

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Teddy Ballgame

Teddy Ballgame
#9 on the field #1 in our hearts.