The NBA and Twitter have proved to be a natural fit for each other. Basketball players took to the service before their counterparts in any other sport, shows like TNT's "Inside the NBA" have willfully incorporated tweets into their broadcasts, and the league maintains a steady tweet presence.
It turns out that Twitter itself also takes some inspiration from the league. If you've spent any time on the site, you've almost certainly seen some variation on their bird logo. Any domesticated animal needs a name, and so the company's braintrust named their bird "Larry" — in honor, of course, of Celtics legend and current Indiana Pacers general manager Larry Bird. From Rosa Golijan for Digital Life (via PBT):
A tweet by Ryan Sarver, a Twitter employee who works on the company's platform and API, reminded us of this silly bit of trivia. Sarver tweeted that Doug Bowman — Twitter's creative director — discussed "the evolution of the Larry the Bird logo" on Monday. [...]
So how'd Larry get his name? Is he named after Google co-founder Larry Page? Or perhaps after Larry the Cable Guy? Maybe Larry King?
No. Larry the Bird is named after former NBA basketball player Larry Bird of Boston Celtics fame. This detail was confirmed when Peter Stringer — the Boston Celtic's director of interactive media — asked Twitter co-founder Biz Stone about it in Aug. 2011.
It's a natural connection given Bird's level of fame. The only other sensible options would have been to name it after jazz legend Charlie "Bird" Parker, or come up with a clever pun like "Birdgess Meredith."
Golijan doesn't explain if the human Larry Bird has caught wind of the connection, or if he even knows what Twitter is. If he does, he probably refers to it as "that thing Roy uses all the time." And then he'd go back to his ancestral home in French Lick, ride a tractor around the farm for a while, and wonder when the world got so darn complicated.
Also, I haven't yet confirmed this report, but I've been told that the Google Plus logo is named "Carlos" after Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer's habit of shouting "and-one!" every time he gets fouled.
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- Larry Bird