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    Rare Bird sighting: Reticent Celtics icon shows soft side, signs jersey for PH fan

    Oct 11, 2013
    Boston Celtics icon and now Indiana president of basketball operations Larry Bird signs the No. 33 jersey for the surprised Filipino fan. Chino Trinidad

    NBA legend Larry Bird does not hide the fact that he disdains autograph-seekers, who he once referred to as "opportunists" who are just out to earn a quick buck from him during his prime.

    Even in retirement, the man referred to as 'Larry Legend' has rejected countless requests for autographs or interviews as he opts to keep to himself - the reason the basketball Hall of Famer is often referred to as the "great introvert."

    Last Wednesday, inside a near-empty Mall of Asia Arena, I witnessed an exception.

    Initially, I saw the Celtics icon try to wave away the autograph-seeker who wanted his No. 33 Boston Celtics jersey signed by the man who made it famous.

    But to my surprise and to the autograph-seeker as well, one of the greatest players of all time turned around and - in an apparent change of heart - asked the man, who I came to know later as Jec Broni, to hand him the green and white jersey.

    Obviously in awe in the presence of legend, the autograph-seeker forgot to hand over his pen and Larry had to ask Jec to hand it over.

    Using his left hand (Larry shoots with his right hand but writes with his left), Bird left a priceless mark on what is now Jec Broni's most prized possesion.

    A rare Bird sighting indeed.

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    Boston Celtics icon and now Indiana president of basketball operations Larry Bird signs the No. 33 jersey for the surprised Filipino fan. Chino Trinidad
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