Sean Patrick Smalls on portraying Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird in ‘Winning Time’

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Sean Patrick Small, the actor portraying legendary Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird in the HBO “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” series very nearly did not get the role, landing the spot after actor Bo Burnham had to turn down the role due to a scheduling conflict.

The actor playing Larry Legend was recently profiled by USA TODAY’s Bryan Alexander, which saw the actor open up on how he developed the Boston great. Born in 1992, the same year Bird retired from the NBA, Small’s appreciation for Bird’s playing style and skills, particularly in shooting and passing, led him to change his shot to fit the image of The Hick From French Lick. “Now I even shoot better like Bird,” he explained.

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The makeup artists adding a bowl cut and mustache completed the image for Small. “After getting up from the makeup chair, even I was convinced,” related the actor.

Even with the look and the shot down pat, Small doesn’t plan on asking the genuine article if his portrayal was true to Bird himself, perhaps due in part to the controversy several Los Angeles Lakers alumni over their portrayal in the docudrama generated.

“I don’t poke the bear,” said Small. “But hopefully, if he ever wants to reach out, I’ll grab a beer with him whenever he wants.”

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire

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