The windows of his 45th-floor offices in the Prudential Building would seem safe enough from an attack by rock or brick launched by what could become a legion of improper Bostonians.
But attorney Bob Woolf, a native son and a man who represents basketball's most coveted property, knows his neighbors in this Celtic city will not easily be mollified if The Bird, swoops off to a nattier nest.
Woolf was the handpicked choice of "The Committee," a half-dozen prominent Terre Haute, Ind., citizens and basketball fans who selected him to protect the best interests of their friend, Larry Bird, the 6-foot-9 Indiana State superduper star.
At the moment, Woolf is locked man-to-man with Red Auerbach, an old adversary, in an attempt to reach a contract agreement with the Boston Celtics, the team that drafted Bird a year ago.
The Celtics must sign Bird by the National Basketball Association draft June 26 or watch him flutter back into the draft pool, where he will be selected by Los Angeles or Chicago, whichever wins a coin flip Thursday to decide the first choice in the draft.
Woolf, America's most prominent sports attorney, and Auerbach, the Celtic's general manager, do not want that to happen.
"Larry Bird is everything a Celtic Should be," Woolf said Tuesday, a few hours before his third negotiating meeting with Auerbach.
"He is a 6-9 combination of Bob Cousy and John Havlicek. I grew up in Boston. I live here. I want him to play here. Larry likes the city and he'd like to play here. If it was up to Larry, he would play for just about anything. But I won't let him."
No, the numbers Woolf has in mind would make Bird the genuine $6-million man-a million a year for six years, a contract that would make Bird the highest-paid athlete in professional sports.
Auerbach came into the first negotiating meeting 10 days ago with a more modest proposal-a half-million a year, which would make Bird merely the highest-paid Celtic ever and the richest draft choice in the history of basketball.
Auerbach was not available for comment today, but Jeff Cohen, the assistant general manager, said the Celtics had increased their offer, but that the two sides still are far apart.
"There's no way we're going to pay him a million dollars," Cohen said.
And yet, as even Cohen acknowledges, the Celtics hardly are negotiating from a position of strength. They had the second-worst record in the NBA this season and traded away three No. 1 draft choices to the New York Knicks for Bob McAdoo, a major disappointment who could be traded again before next season starts.
Attendance was down an average of 2,000 paying customers a game and, as Wool says, "If they don't sign Larry Bird, they will have the same team that finished 29-53, with no way of improving themselves."
Well, there is one way. The Celtics would attempt to trade the rights to Bird to another team. But Bird has the advantage there, too, because no one would give up players or draft picks without first coming to terms with him. So he and Woolf would have a say in any trade Boston wanted to make.
Both parties would come out losers if Bird went back into the draft pool. He would lose considerable leverage on his money demands, by having to accept a far more modest contract or sit out the year.
Still, the Celtics need Bird a lot more than he needs them, and Woolf knows it.
So, when Auerbach came into the first negotiating session ranting and raving as if Woolf were wearing a striped shirt and blowing a whistle, the attorney quickly called time and ordered Auerbach to behave like a gentleman and keep his voice down.
"If he starts that stuff again," Woolf said, "he knows we'll leave."
But when Woolf said he expected to have a contract signed by May 15, Auerbach took that as "an ultimatum" and hollered some more.
"As a basketball fan, I am his greatest admirer," Woolf said. "As a negotiator and as someone who you have to look to to make your living from, I have a different opinion."
Several members of the local press have enve downplayed Bird's possible contribution to the Celtics. He is a forward, one columnist wrote the other day, and not the kind of dominant player who singlehandedly turns around a team. How soon the forget, however, that Bird took a mostly mediocre Indiana State team within one game of a national championship.
Says Woolf: "Some of the articles were written without the proper by-line. They should have said 'as dictated by Red Auerbach.'" CAPTION: Picture, Larry Bird