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Boston Celtics

ON THIS DATE: Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird announces retirement as an NBA player

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Larry Bird (NBA Getty Images)

On this date 26 years ago, Larry Bird announced his retirement as an NBA player.

"The last couple of years have been very tough on me, on my back and on my body," Bird said on Aug. 18, 1992. "It was very hard to deal with, day in and day out. Unfortunately, it all came down to this.

"I would have liked to have played a little bit longer, maybe a year or two more, but there was just no way possible I was going to be able to do that. So today, I'm retiring."

The Boston Celtics selected Bird with the No. 6 pick in the 1978 NBA Draft. In his 13 seasons with the franchise, the Indiana native averaged 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.8 blocks per game.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all-time, Bird won three NBA championships, two Finals MVPs and three regular season MVPs. He was also a 12-time All-Star, a nine-time member of the All-NBA First Team and a three-time member of the All-Defensive Second Team.

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Upon his retirement, David Stern, the NBA's commissioner at the time, credited Bird with defining the way future generations would view and appreciate the league.

"There is no way to quantify the impact that Larry Bird has had on the game of basketball," Stern said. "With his intensity, dedication, competitiveness and will to win, he has been the ultimate team player in the quintessential team sport."

Bird was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998. His No. 33 has been retired by the Celtics.

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