Alive, Bad, and Basketball: FANTASYPROS My parents used to take us to French Lick, Indiana as kids It was an annual tradition and one that I looked forward to every year. When you’re a kid, everything is just simpler You cram into the car for a road trip and you’re excited about it. You aren’t in your bed at home and you’re more than okay with that. You’re eating more fast food than anyone rightfully should. Kudos to my parents for doing that for us, as I know none of those things pleasant are as an adult The hotel we stayed at did this giant Easter egg hunt for all highlight of the trip for my brother the kids, which was a and me, until we got a bit older and needed to find other things to occupy our time out there. I don’t think my parents wanted our annual tradition to end, so my dad veered off the plan in what I believe was 1994. I would eight have been 11 years old and my little brother was years old huge sports family and that period was when We were a the Bulls had Michael Jordan, so basketball was alive and well in the Tagliere household. We’d been basketball fans for a long time, so my dad told us he wanted to show us something. French Lick happens to be the hometown of basketball legend Larry Bird. My dad got us in the car and drove us to see his property, which has a short four panel white fence surrounding the perimeter. There was a full size basketball court with glass backboards and lights for all to see. There was no mistake; this was a basketball player’s dream Another thing you do when you’re a kid is have zero regard for personal privacy, so my brother and I wanted to walk up to the door and meet Larry himself. It’s not every day you’re standing outside a legend’s house. While my dad probably shouldn’t have allowed us to do it, we walked up to his front door and rang the doorbell. My heart was beating faster than it probably ever had before, but when the door opened, we saw a giant man who was not Larry Bird. Instead, it was his bodyguard who just stared at us. “Is Mr. Bird home?” I can hear my 11-year-old voice now. The large man started to tell us how it was Larry’s personal home and that we needed to take off, but mid-sentence, Larry himself walked out from the kitchen and told the man to let us in. There were a few large bags of McDonald’s on the counter, to which Larry told us we could have whatever we wanted He said, “They sponsor me, so feel free. There’s no way me and the big fella are going to eat all this food.” It felt odd, but how was I going to turn down french fries from Larry Bird?! I ate the fries. He went on to say, “Hey guys I really do appreciate you being fans, but I have a rule with autographs. I don’t sign them at my house. It’s the one place I want to be able to just relax.” We understood and respected that. The fact that he invited us in made our day We went back to the car and our dad was in total shock that we went into Mr. Bird’s house. We explained everything to him, and I think he felt bad about letting us walk up there. We went back home shortly thereafter, and he told us to write a letter to Mr. Bird thanking him for being so kind. We did and it felt good. Even better? We got home from school a few weeks later and there was a package waiting for us. Larry had signed a few basketball cards and sent them back to the return address, our house RT @JoshEberley: This story from @MikeTagliereNFL about Larry Bird, man!!! Wow lol. https://t.co/t8WcfOhUi2 https://t.co/CmVAZebcCs

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