The same loophole that allowed Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach to draft Celtics legend Larry Bird out of college before he’d graduated (he’d transferred from Indiana to Indiana State after his freshman year) allowed Bord to turn the tables on Auerbach and demand what was then the biggest salary ever given to a rookie in NBA history.
Now the deal, a five-year, $3.25 million contract, seems like a bargain of bargains — particularly considering he basically walked into the league playing at an All-Star level. But at the time, there was considerable doubt as to whether Auerbach had committed a critical mistake by letting the future Hall of Famer force his hand to such a level.
At the time, Celtics Hall of Fame player and coach Tommy Heinsohn was writing a column on the team he rose to fame with, and spoke on a television show about what he believed about Bird’s future in the league and the value of the signing.
Watch the video embedded above to hear what Heinsohn said about one of the greatest to play the game before he ever graced an NBA hardwood (you may want to turn on the closed captioning and crank the volume — father time has not been kind to the audio).