The Real Reason Larry Bird Dropped Out Of Indiana University - Grunge

Before he went, Larry Bird was excited to arrive at Indiana University, having learned that Basketball legend coach Bobby Knight was there (via Larry Bird, “Drive: The Story of My Life”). However, his experience would prove to be unpleasant and the budding star player was treated quite badly. Bird was pushed around by another star player, Kent Benson, who tried to stop him from playing ball when he first arrived. Bird became so frustrated with Benson in fact, years later he longed to beat him every time they faced each other on the court. Sadly Bird said he was also rudely treated by Knight himself, who even snubbed him one occasion when Bird called out to him; a small slight that had a big impact on Bird’s sensitive nature (Seth Davis “When March Went Mad”).

Off the court, the young player fared little better. Bird often jokingly lamented “I ain’t no genius in school,” and he was intimidated by the school’s academic rigor. On top of all that, the sheer amount of students simply overwhelmed him — he was a small-town boy at heart and a real introvert.

The final straw for the disheartened basketball player was money. Bird came from a poor background and only had $75 and very few possessions to his name when he arrived. When he was handed a bill for $60 some weeks later for a bowling class, he realized he couldn’t pay. Unable to talk his way out of it, he packed up his things and left.