My career needed to be refreshed, it needed to be remixed” – Jalen Rose credited Larry Bird for validating him

My career needed to be refreshed, it needed to be remixed” – Jalen Rose credited Larry Bird for validating him

Larry Bird wasn’t just a legendary player on the NBA court. His exceptional game acumen shone through when he coached the Indiana Pacers as well. Having led the franchise to the NBA Finals in the 1999-2000 season, ‘Larry Legend’ wasn’t only applauded for bringing success to a small-market team like Indiana but also for revitalizing the careers of certain players, such as Jalen Rose.

Rose failed to make his presence felt in the early years

Following his standout junior year at

Following his standout junior year at Michigan State, where he averaged 21.2 points per game, Rose entered the NBA with considerable hype. However, after being drafted as the No. 13 overall pick by the Denver Nuggets, the 6’8” forward struggled to find any rhythm, averaging just 9.1 points in his first two years in the NBA.

Ultimately, the Nuggets decided to trade him to the Pacers in 1996. While some expected a change in environment could make Jalen rise to his best form, the reality proved to be even worse. In the ‘96-97 season, ‘Jinx’ averaged 7.3 points per game under coach Larry Brown.

Bird changed Jalen’s fate

Since taking the reins of the Pacers in the 1997-98 season, Larry engineered a significant shift in the team’s fortunes. In his first year at the helm, he elevated the Pacers from a non-playoff position to a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. Throughout this process, Bird appeared personally invested in helping Rose maximize his abilities.

With increased playing time and a defined role under Bird’s coaching, Jalen saw significant improvement in his performance.

During the 97-98 season, Rose’s average increased to 9.4 points per game. His progress continued, culminating in him being named the Most Improved Player in the 99-00 season when he averaged an impressive 18.2 points per game. Interestingly, this was the only time in his career that Rose ranked among the top 15 MVP candidates

Larry was the guy that helped validate me; my career needed to be refreshed; it needed to be remixed,” Rose said during his appearance on the ‘Jalen and Jacoby’ show. “Third year – Indiana, Larry Brown gave me 15, and he’s a Hall of Fame coach that left. So, now it’s do or die for me as a young player. When Larry Bird talks to the media and was like, ‘Im gonna turn Jalen into the player that’s gonna live up to his potential.’ I cut that out and put that on the refrigerator, bro.”

Regaining his confidence under the three-time MVP’s guidance was pivotal for Jalen’s career trajectory. Despite subsequent trades to Chicago and Toronto in the following years, he was at least able to establish himself as a potent scorer, consistently averaging double-digit points

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