Blessed with impressive two-way skills, Bobby Orr was signed to an exclusive contract by the Boston Bruins at the tender age of 12 but league rules required that he wait until age 18 before he played in the league.
2 of 17Tony Triolo for Sports Illustrated
Bobby Orr made his NHL debut in 1966-67 and went on to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year. He finished second among defensemen in scoring with 13 goals and 41 points, and his +30 rating spoke loudly of his formidable all-around play.
3 of 17Fred Keenan/TSN/Icon SMI
A swift, almost effortless skater and brilliant playmaker, Bobby Orr began revolutionizing the game by posting offensive numbers unprecedented for a backliner.
4 of 17Tony Triolo for Sports Illustrated
Bobby Orr won two scoring titles and had six consecutive 100-point seasons (1969-75), including the first by a defenseman.
5 of 17Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images
Though his offensive exploits made headlines, Bobby Orr's defensive prowess was second to none. Unafraid of the physical game (or a fight) and able to use his speed to foil opponents' rushes, he won a record eight consecutive Norris Trophies, beginning with the 1967-68 season.
6 of 17AP
This iconic photo of Bobby Orr captures him in mid-flight moments after scoring the overtime goal against St. Louis in Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup Final that gave the Bruins their first championship in 29 years.
7 of 17SI Picture Collection
Bobby Orr not only drank from the Stanley Cup, he was the first defenseman to ever be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP in 1970. He scored 20 points in 14 games.
8 of 17Tony Triolo for Sports Illustrated
Named SI's Sportsman of the Year for 1970, Bobby Orr proceeded to score a career-high 139 points in 1970-71, winning the second of his three straight Hart Trophies as the NHL's MVP. Orr remains the only player ever to win the Hart, Ross, Norris and Smythe Trophies in the same season (1969-70).
9 of 17Neil Leifer for Sports Illustrated
The NHL's first million dollar player when he signed a five-year contract at $200,000 per season prior to the 1971-72 campaign, Bobby Orr proved to be worth every penny, scoring 37 goals and 117 points.
10 of 17Neil Leifer for Sports Illustrated
The Conn Smythe was Orr's again as the Bruins beat the New York Rangers for the 1971-72 Stanley Cup. The silverware-winning goal was scored by Orr in Game 6, making him the first player to win the Smythe twice.
11 of 17John D. Hanlon for Sports Illustrated
Incessant, painful knee injuries plagued Bobby Orr, who had countless operations and ended up skating on little more than bone on bone. After setting a goal-scoring record for defensemen (46, in 1974-75), his playing time and production declined dramatically.
12 of 17Toronto Star/Zuma Press/Icon SMI
Bobby Orr's agent Alan Eagleson (center) engineered a controversial deal with the Chicago Blackhawks before the 1976-77 season, but the backliner was limited by injury to only 26 games in the next three seasons, one of which he missed entirely. Refusing to cash his Chicago paychecks, the proud Orr retired in 1979 at the age to 31, with a total of 270 goals, 645 assists, and 953 points.
13 of 17Mike Grecco/AP
With the mandatory three-year waiting period waived, Orr was enshrined in the Hockey of Hall of Fame in 1979, the youngest player ever inducted. The Bruins retired his jersey number the same year.
14 of 17Reg Innell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Golfing great Jack Nicklaus gives Orr some tips at the Bobby Orr Invitational golf tournament at Emerald Hills in 1987.
15 of 17Elise Amendola/AP
In 1995, Bobby Orr was reunited with former Bruins Milt Schmidt, John Bucyk and Phil Esposito at a farewell ceremony for the old Boston Garden.
16 of 17Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
New England Patriots stars Richard Seymour and Tedy Bruschi walk to the mound alongside Bill Russell and Bobby Orr to toss the first pitch before the Red Sox home opener against the Yankees in 2005. After the Red Sox banished the Curse of the Bambino the previous fall, the team brought in some of Boston's biggest champions for the ceremony.
17 of 17Dave Sandford for Sports Illustrated
Bobby Orr collects a $100 bet from Don Cherry after the two coached the 2009 Top Prospects Game, the annual showcase for top junior talent. Orr's team won the game 6-1.
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