Larry Bird’s Sports Legacy in French Lick Indiana

French Lick Indiana, population 1,700 in the rolling hills of southern Indiana, is not a place most people stumble upon by accident. It’s home to two magnificent hotel resorts, the West Baden Springs and the French Lick Resort.

But if you know basketball, if you love the NBA, you know French Lick and will want to make a road trip here.

Larry Bird's restaurant is 33 Brick Street in French Lick.

And here’s an address you need to remember: 33 Brick Street and 480 S. Maple Street.

They are one in the same.  Maple Street is a brick paved street, part of the charming and historic downtown. The number 33. Well that put French Lick on the map.

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Boston Celtics # 33 – the Hick from French Lick

Larry Bird

The 33 comes from French Lick’s most famous native son – Larry Bird. For 13 years — 1979 to 1992 — his number with the Boston Celtics was 33.

Known as the Hick from French Lick, he won every award that basketball has to offer professionals and super stars of his caliber. Many of them are on display at 33 Brick Street in French Lick, a little town about 90 miles south of Indianapolis.

A wall of memorabilia inside 33 Brick Street in French Lick. Larry Bird doesn’t own the restaurant, but when three guys who love their home town and wanted to become a part of the downtown rebirth had the idea for 33 Brick Street, Larry gave them his full support. They are Tracy Tucker, Brian Pendley and Danny Weikart.

Of  course, Tracy is Larry’s cousin and Danny is a personal friend and well, French Lick is a small town where everybody knows everybody.

When Larry was moving to Indianapolis as president of the Indiana Pacers, he told his friends “Hey, I have some old stuff around here you can use.”

Larry Bird's Olympic Jacket is at the restaurant in French Lick IndianaWell, the “stuff” is his Naismith Trophy as the best college basketball player in the country, numerous NBA trophies and awards, championship rings, jerseys, you name it.

Larry Bird was on the Olympic Basketball Team that won gold in 1992, and his warm up jersey is just not on display. It’s on a hangar behind the bar and anyone who asks can try it on. It might be a little big for you.

Sports Legends and Memorabilia in French Lick

The gymnasium floor where Larry Bird played in high schoolAnd then he has cool stuff from other sports legends – Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordon, Joe Montana, Lou Brock. Of course, as a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan, I had to turn my back on the Albert Pujols jersey.

A portion of the gymnasium floor of the old Spring Valley High School where Larry Bird played ball is mounted on the wall. The signatures there are not the superstars of the game we know today.

They are teammates and others who played with and against the Hick from French Lick.

Now that is pretty cool.

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