Larry Joe Bird. Not only to Celtics fans, but among NBA faithful worldwide, those three words conjure images of enduring legacy.
From Bird’s classic feuds with Magic Johnson, to his timeless games of commercialized horse alongside Michael Jordan, you’d be hard-pressed in finding a current or historical NBA figure who can match “Larry Legend’s” on-court acumen.
While stretch-fours are hot currency in modern-NBA trade, Bird embodied the concept before it was universally embraced. However, make no mistake, if Bird played today, he’d lead the revolution.
Throughout his storied 13-year professional career, Bird averaged 24.3 PPG, 10 RPG, and 6.3 APG, while shooting 49/37/88 overall. In addition to claiming three NBA Championships, three MVP awards, and donning 12 Eastern Conference All-Star jerseys, Bird more recently left his mark among NBA front-office personnel.
While Bird is known to today’s generation for being Indiana’s brain trust from 2003 until April, it behooves every young follower of this sport to dig up Bird’s classics via Youtube. Classic such as this:
It is in this spirit that 25 years following Bird’s retirement, WTLC pays tribute via a masterwork of quotes from Larry Joe’s contemporaries.
By way of Yahoo:
Bill Walton on Bird:
“A rare and different bird, like no other, with a spectacularly unique skill set, personality, level of humanity and creative imagination. He was just so far ahead of everybody else. There have been other great players, but this guy Larry Bird: Oh, my God. I was there. I saw it. I knew Larry was a good player before I got there. I had no idea how good.”
Former Celtics teammate Kevin McHale on Bird:
“The first thing you find out is Larry is bigger than he looks playing the perimeter on television. He’s a big guy and really unbelievably crafty. … His ability to read the defense was phenomenal, just a whole different level of understanding.
Former teammate, and 2011 NBA Champion Mavericks Head Coach Rick Carlisle on Bird:
“Larry was the first guy that came along at 6-foot-9 playing small forward that could make plays the way he made plays. He saw things before they happened, he had the ability to thread the needle for a wide-open jump shot, layup or dunk, and he just had an impeccable sense of timing for when to strike with the 3-point dagger, when to draw two defenders and drop it off in the post or get wide-open shots for our guards. There have been a number of great players since Larry retired, but there has never been another Larry Bird.”
And two-and-a-half decades later, there has been no other Bird to take flight on the game’s biggest stage, perenially against its brightest names.