Twenty-six years ago today Larry Bird’s jersey would get lifted into the Boston Garden rafters. Easily one of the greatest players to ever wear green and white, Bird was truly way ahead of his time. With no game on the schedule, Bird managed to sell out the arena where the entire city of Boston dedicated the the night to his service. The two hour ceremony gave Bird the proper send off where even his “arch rival” Magic Johnson came out to show respect by greeting him wearing a Boston Celtics shirt under his LA Lakers warm up gear.
Larry Legend as he is known, was as a complete player as you ever will see. He is a three time NBA champion, 2 time Finals MVP, 3 time league MVP, 12 time NBA All Star, 9 time NBA first team, All Star Game MVP, NBA Rookie of the Year, Olympic Gold medalist with the Dream Team and the list goes on… For as great as he was as a player, he also excelled as a coach and executive in the front office. He was named NBA executive of the year in 2012 as well as coach of the year his first year coaching in 1998. He did it all!! With no coaching experience under his belt he managed to lead the Pacers to back-to-back Central Division titles, including an NBA Finals birth in 2000. Bird is the only player in history to have ever won league MVP and coach of the year. Just when you thought that someone might come along and accomplish that feat one day he adds executive of the year to that list. I don’t think anyone would ever do that again.
I don’t know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody – somewhere – was practicing more than me.
During his playing days Larry was known for his shooting but real basketball enthusiasts know that he had so much more to his game than his shooting. He could rebound the ball at an elite level as well as pass. What he lacked in athleticism he gained in basketball IQ and all of this attributes that don’t show up on the stat sheet. The ultimate professional, Bird went up against the the best players in NBA history, including Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Karl Malone, and more. Each of these guys will tell you that Larry Bird was one of the fiercest competitors that they have EVER faced.
For his career Bird averaged 24.3 Points, 10 Rebounds and 6.3 Assists per game.
Where does Larry Legend stack up in your top 10 players of All Time?