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Friday Night Video: Remembering Larry Bird

Aug 17, 2012, 10:30 PM EDT

It was 20 years ago this week that Larry Bird retired from basketball. Over at, they have done a fantastic job this week of remember him and what he meant to the Boston Celtics and the city.

Here’s a highlight video of Bird (if you want more, there are countless more on the Web). What I take away from this was two rememberances. First, the guy had every shot in the book. Three pointer, spin move in the post, running floater, whatever it was he could hit it. It was the hours spent in the gym practicing shots nobody else thought of.

Second, has there ever been a better shooter of a contested jumper in the game’s history? He had the footwork and game to create space for himself, but he didn’t need much because he was tall enough to shoot over you and drain it.

Just a reminder of his career numbers: 3 NBA championships, 3 time league MVP, 2 time finals MVP, 10 time All-Star, gold medal, Dream Team member, Hall of Famer. The man who, along with Magic Johnson, revitalized the game, saved the NBA and cleared the path for Jordan and all that was to come.

And that’s the short list.

  1. metalhead65 - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    great highlights from one of the greatest ever! the music is beyond awful!

  2. fm31970 - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    He should’ve entered the BBHOF just on his passing skills alone. Who drives baseline, gets double-teamed, then makes an over the head (who does that even??) pass to a center diving into the paint? Larry Legend, that’s who. I mean we see what, maybe two great passes in the NBA per year now? Larry alone made two per year, easy.

    The mastery of every fundamental skill is so clear when you watch his highlights, but he was able to improvise at will, and make it work.

    Nobody will ever rock the blond porn ‘stache better.

  3. tibbs7 - Aug 17, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    You have to like someone who gets the most out of his talent.

  4. BigBeachBall - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    The media seems confused about whether they think Larry was an all time great or some special olympics kid that played his heart out, got a ton of support and won some stuff… who knows whats happening there… im done thinking about it…

  5. isujames - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    Lets not go overboard, he and Magic didn’t save the NBA.

    • camnellum12 - Aug 18, 2012 at 4:12 PM This is what Bryant Gumbel said at 6:43 of this video:

      “One of my pet peeves is always when people say ‘Oh, Michael Jordan saved the NBA’, bullsh*t. Bullsh*t. Magic and Larry saved the NBA. That’s who saved the NBA. Magic and Larry”.

      And Gumble was the sideline reporter of the classic Michigan St-Indiana St NCAA Championship game. Read “When The Game Was Ours”. You’ll understand.

  6. zblott - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    Bird circa 1984 would carry that year’s possible Dream Team in an epic showdown of all the best Dream Team’s that could ever be made if the NBA was allowed in the Olympics all along. Unfortunately for Bird, ’84 would only win them Silver behind 1968’s Gold.

  7. rjlink1 - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Along with Magic and Michael, one of the three masters of the modern game. Those were the only three guys who had complete command of the court in every facet of the game. I think LeBron can get there. Kobe seems like he could if he wanted to, but focuses more on his scorer’s role.

    • camnellum12 - Aug 18, 2012 at 4:19 PM

      I agree with most of your comments, but I don’t view Michael Jordan in the same role as Magic and Larry. The big difference between Magic/Bird and Jordan, was that Magic and Bird knew what they had to do to get a Larry O’Brien coming out of college, and they were great teammates. It took Jordan to buy into Phil Jackson, the demise of the Pistons, and a new era of basketball to get his 6 rings and other achievements. Not taking anything away from Jordan, but I don’t see him as a guy who was a great teammate or who made his teammates better.

  8. 1historian - Aug 18, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    He was Larry Bird

    Red drafted him a year ahead of time

    Boston LOVED him and filly HATED him, which was always nice

    Johnny Most LOVED him

    I stopped at his Ford dealership in Southern Indiana once. Parquet floor, baskets at either end of the floor, souvenirs up the wazooo

    He was Larry Bird

  9. 1historian - Aug 18, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Loved that video. Didn’t hear the music. It was the touch passes that really get me.
    Bird-McHale-Parish BAM!!! The (Old) garden had fans who really appreciated that, as in INTELLIGENT audiences, forget the P.A. system and the cheerleaders and just play the damn game.

    I don’t remember seeing any touch passes last season or for the last few years, of course I don’t want as much as I used to.

    FYI – I am an old fart

  10. dls612 - Aug 18, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    one of the few guys that had a deadly unorthodox shot! No rotation at all, but guaranteed to drop dead bottom!

  11. dysraw1 - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    savvy heady court wise Larry Legend never was there player with so many deficienceis’ who could dominate a ballgame

  12. therealhtj - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Even in that era he looked like he was running around with cement shoes. He’d never cut it in today’s game.

    • scalfor3 - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      he would dominate any era you put him in. bird was unbelievable

  13. sageandjudahsdad - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Your a fool. Larry Legend could shoot lights out against anyone, anytime..
    He would tell defenders what he was going to do to them, and they still couldn’t stop him!! The only thing that EVER stopped him was his balky back.

    Top five greatest of ALL TIME!!!

    • florida727 - Aug 21, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      Exactly right. One of the greatest trash-talkers of all-time, and I mean that in a good way.

      “thereal”, apparently there’s a person, or FORTY, that disagree with you. Odd thing though: NOBODY agrees with you. Maybe you should give yourself a thumbs-up just so you don’t get shut out :)

  14. lakerluver - Aug 18, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    I’m a LAKERS fan through & through and Magic/Kobe/Worthy are my favorite players ever. However, as a kid I wanted to shoot the J just like Larry Legend! And believe me, I tried over and over to emulate that beautiful jump shot.

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:13 PM

      As always, your class shows, lakerluver. You are one knowledgeable and intelligent fan of this game, unlike so many other poseurs who come here to spread their jealousy and ignorance. Larry Bird was one of a kind, the hick from French Lick, and one heck of a competitor. Like Jordan, Bird wouldn’t back down from anybody. The best was when he snubbed Bill Lambeer, #1 Detroit bad boy, before tip off. Lambeer extended his hand and Bird just stood there, waiting to eat Lambeer alive. Bird’s friendship with the great Magic Johnson was an example of two fierce warriors respecting each other’s skill and character. Those were epic battles.

  15. davidly - Aug 19, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Numbers tell a story too: lifetime shooting average of .496 with 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.8 blocks per game.

    Even if you didn’t watch him play, that would be indicative of an all-around great.

  16. cornbreadbbqred - Aug 20, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Too little is said about the likes of Bird and Magic, as players great in their own respect, who hung their careers on making those around them better. M.J. was more a self-absorbed, arch-compulsive brand who benefited from ridiculous coddling and special consideration from the referees and the league in general. Too much was shady about his gambling, tragedies in his personal life, and his faux retirement. Compulsiveness written all over every thing; and compulsiveness often leads to bad personal decisions, and few true friends in life. Give Bird and Magic their due, for each of them would have had more rings than M.J. if not for the other, competing against each other in their respective primes.

  17. cornbreadbbqred - Aug 20, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Oh, and by sheer contrast to be thorough forgotten is ESPN, owned by fantasy farm Disney; and their journalists who must be covering cartoons as opposed to real life and athletes! In short, the entire network and it’s semi-literate, buffoonish help SUCKS!

  18. diamondmo33 - Aug 26, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    It’s just my opinion:Baylor,bird and pippen(in no particular order) greatest small forwards ever.

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