"Larry was a debate. He still is. People ask me all the time who my all-time five top players are, and when I start saying Larry, they interrupt me. They say 'You've got to be kidding me. He can't play with LeBron James!' I tell them 'You guys don't get it. Larry is far better than any small forward who has played the game, and to be honest, I'm still not sure if he is a small forward or a power forward. To appreciate Bird fully, you need to know the game. You have to be a basketball person to be able to give him his due. He's not jumping out of the gym. He doesn't dunk on anyone. He doesn't show any quickness. That's why people can't see the value of his game." - Michael Jordan
His resume is up there with the greatest to have ever played; 3-time champion, and at a time when there were numerous top-10 all-time teams competing for the championship (Lakers, Sixers, Pistons), 3 time MVP , 10-time All-NBA, and a 12-time all-star. But in reality, his legacy goes far beyond numbers and awards.
Never in the history of the game have we seen a bigger skill to athletic ability ratio than with Bird. Nor have we seen someone with more pride. Take this game for example. Crippled by a bad back. Bird was no longer a top-5 player in the league, and this was the time that players were lining up their opportunity to go at him. In the decisive game 5, he fractured his cheekbone and had a concussion. What else did he have to prove? He had already accomplished so much, and yet there was no hesitation in going back out there. Bird finished with 32 points (12/19 FG), 9 rebounds, and 7 assists, as the Celtics held off the Pacers and advanced.
Now the debate as to who the greatest small forward of all-time is one of the great topics we have today. If nothing else, it's a testament to LeBron that he is in that discussion. I have Bird as the greatest small forward to play, but I understand why people would go with LeBron. But if you're instantly dismissive of Bird's greatness, then Jordan was right, "You don't get it". #istilllovethisgame #larrybird #larrylegend #hickfromfrenchlick #larrybird33 #nba #nbahistory #nba90s #nba80s #bostonceltics #celticspride #michaeljordan #basketball