Larry Bird wasn’t quick or vastly athletic, but he had every other quality to make him one of the best to ever play the game.
If you don’t recognize the quote in the title of this piece, you may not be a dyed-in-the-wool Larry Bird fan. In Part 2 of my series, we are evaluating the best small forward Boston has ever had on the roster, and the only question is, who comes in second. If you read Part 1, you already know Larry comes in first, followed by The Truth, Captain Paul Pierce. Here’s a partial list of Bird’s accomplishments, via Wikipedia:
3-Time NBA Champion
2-Time Finals MVP
3-Time NBA MVP
9-Time All-NBA First Team
3-Time All-Defensive Second Team
3-Time 3-point Champ
2-Time 50-40-90 Club
Shooting, passing, defense, leadership, anticipation, basketball IQ, confidence, arrogance – he had them all. Here’s the deal on Bird’s “Who’s gonna get 2nd place” challenge prior to winning the 3-point shootout.
Did I mention confidence and arrogance? Larry chose to play a large part of one game left-handed (he was a righty).
It’s #LeftHandersDay so let’s rewind to 1986 and Larry Bird’s famous left-handed game. Bird scored 10 of his 21 FGM with his left hand, including this and-one.
Oh, he finished with a 47/14/11 triple-double, send the game to OT and eventually hit the game winning shot as well.
The Bird Man was also one of the top assist guys ever to play the forward position. His passing skills were mesmerizing:
The is nobody in today’s NBA would can pass like Larry Bird. NOBODY. https://twitter.com/nba/status/1071490081217699840 …
50 Amazing Assists by Larry Bird!
Let me end this piece by emphasizing that we have never seen a player like Larry, and we may never again. He was truly unique. And tough as nails.
In NBA history:
Most skilled Forward
One of the highest basketball IQs
Best all-around shooter
Best trash talker
One of the toughest
Bird had it all, and was more athletic than he is given credit for (especially between 79-87)
Plenty of footage on YT kids https://twitter.com/VenturaVariety/status/1159679462847459329 …Ventura Variety@VenturaVariety
Larry Bird was a different kind of player… Definition of a skilled player!! #NBATwitter#NBA2K20
So who comes in second for All-Time Celtic at the small forward position? The Captain – The Truth – Paul Pierce. I have always loved this guy, but he had no chance for first place at SF with Bird in his way. And I would have loved to place Paul first at shooting guard, but Jarrin’ John Havlicek, the Bouncing Buckeye from Ohio State, won that one. We will look at him in Part 3.
Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center