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 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.

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