On Nov. 28, 1977, Sports Illustrated put 20-year-old Indiana State student Larry Bird on the cover of its college basketball preview issue. Bird was coming off a strong sophomore season, averaging 33 points and 13 rebounds per game, and the Sycamores landed at No. 17 in SI's preseason rankings. SI writer Greg Sanders said of Bird in the issue:
Because of Bird's instant orientation and unerring touch around the basket and his flair for offensive rebounding, most opponents have tried to force him outside. There he merely banged away with the same jump shot he developed in his backyard as a kid: head cocked slightly to one side like Jack Nicklaus as he prepares to hit a long drive, easy motion over the top, plenty of rotation on the ball upon release.
Today marks the 40-year anniversary of Larry Bird's first SI cover and to celebrate, we have outtakes of the famous shoot.
The cover got a second life in 2014, when Creighton forward Doug McDermott re-created the shot.
While we aren't sure if Bird will land on another Sports Illustrated cover, we can certainly celebrate the 40th anniversary of his SI debut.