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Thursday, August 16, 2001
Back injury forces Bird into retirement

By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com

Aug. 18, 1992

It's the end of an era as a chronically troublesome back forces Larry Bird to retire before he wanted to. During the last two seasons, the Boston Celtics forward had missed 59 games because of the back, undergone surgery and still couldn't endure the rigors of an NBA season.

"I would have liked to play a little longer, but I've had enough pain to last me a lifetime," he says in a press conference in Boston Garden. "I can't shake it. I don't care if I could go out and score 60 points each night. It just is not worth it."

Bird is the only non-center to win three consecutive MVP awards (1984-86). He led the Celtics to three NBA titles, winning Finals MVP twice. He averaged 24.3 points, 10 rebounds and 6.3 assists in his 13-year career. He appeared in 10 All-Star Games, starting nine, and was all-NBA first-team his first nine seasons.