INDIANAPOLIS — A viral meme quoting former Indiana Pacers head coach and president of basketball operations Larry Bird made its way around social media over the weekend.
Bird is allegedly quoted as saying, "Back in my day the game had fundamentals and honored the commander in chief. Now it's a bunch of radical fundamentalists who dishonor the flag and cross and only care about looking flashy. Just shut up and play the damn game."
Did Larry Bird make these remarks about today's players and protests?
The Pacers organization confirmed the post is fake. It did not come from an official account, nor has Bird gone on record with these claims.
WHAT WE FOUND
13Sunrise feature reporter Carlos Diaz reached out to the Indiana Pacers on behalf of 13News in regard to the supposed quote.
The Pacers said the quote was "totally false."
In fact, when the Boston Celtics won the NBA title in 1984, Bird didn't make the trip to the White House to meet with then-President Ronald Reagan.
“If the president wants to see me, he knows where to find me," Bird told the Boston Globe.
According to the Boston Globe, Bird stayed out until the sun came up after winning the championship, did a live interview with a Boston radio station, then went home to sleep while nine of his teammates gathered at the airport to head to the White House.
The Pacers confirmed Bird never said these words, nor has there been any record or example of him publicly speaking on the topic of players boycotting playoff games as means of protest.