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Paul George says Larry Bird can still shoot the rock

Jul 22, 2013, 4:09 PM EDT


Larry Bird was the ultimate gym rat player. He simply seemed like he could knock down any shot — open or contested, he could create just enough space to get a look and he didn’t need much. They guy could just shoot.

Still can, apparently.

Nima Zarrabi of SLAM caught up with Indiana’s Paul George before the ESPYs last week and George told this story (hat tip to All Ball).

SLAM: I believe you had talked about seeing Larry shoot in the gym.

PG: He picked a ball up that had rolled over. He rolled up his sleeves and made about 15 in a row and just walked out like nothing just happened. It was the craziest thing I’ve seen.

SLAM: How did you and the rest of the team react?

PG: We were speechless. We didn’t know whether to keep shooting or just to end practice. It was sweet, man.

The only thing that could have made that better is Bird looking at the team and saying, “Which one of you is going to come in second?”

Larry is still a legend.

  1. edwardemanuelson - Jul 22, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    He’s the greatest SF of all time. Totally not shocked. I love these kind of stories.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      That’s disrespectful to LeBron. Call me when Bird wins back-to-back rings, MVPs and Finals MVPs.

      • Kurt Helin - Jul 22, 2013 at 5:34 PM

        Don’t be disrespectful to Bird, who has three rings and won three straight MVPs and two Finals MVPs.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 22, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        3× NBA champion (1981, 1984, 1986)
        2× NBA Finals MVP (1984, 1986)
        3× NBA Most Valuable Player (1984–1986)
        12× NBA All-Star (1980–1988, 1990–1992)
        9× All-NBA First Team (1980–1988)
        All-NBA Second Team (1990)
        3× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1982–1984)
        NBA Rookie of the Year (1980)
        NBA All-Rookie First Team (1980)
        NBA All-Star Game MVP (1982)
        3× Three-point Shootout champion (1986–1988)
        NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
        #33 Retired by Boston Celtics
        John R. Wooden Award (1979)
        Naismith College Player of the Year (1979)
        AP National Player of the Year (1979)
        Oscar Robertson Trophy (1979)
        Adolph Rupp Trophy (1979)
        NABC Player of the Year (1979)
        2× MVC Player of the Year (1978, 1979)
        2× Consensus NCAA All-American First Team (1978, 1979)

      • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 5:40 PM

        LeBron 4x MVP + 2x Finals MVP = 6 total 
        Magic 3x MVP + 3x Finals MVP = 6 total 
        Bird 3x MVP + 2x Finals MVP = 5 total 
        Duncan 2x MVP + 3x Finals MVP = 5 total 
        Shaq 1x MVP + 3x Finals MVP = 4 total 
        Kobe 1x MVP + 2x Finals MVP = 3 total

        Come at me, bro.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:04 PM

        LeBron is 3rd all time in scoring average (Bird 18th)
        LeBron is 28th all time in assist average (Bird 43rd)

        Not only is LeBron a better offensive player than Bird, he’s also a much better defender. Consider that Lars Bird has ZERO All-Defensive 1st Team selections on his resume. LeBron now has 5 straight. And James has come in 2nd in Defensive Player of the Year two times.

        So Defense catapults LBJ to the top of the SF ranking. Neither Bird, Dr. J or Elgin Baylor were anywhere close to being defenders on a DPOY level like LeBron James is.

      • knodtl1 - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        Larry’s list is longer and if Lebron retired today, Larry would still be the greatest.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:16 PM

        List of what? His injury list is longer. LeBron has more records and more awards and more game.

      • spthegr8 - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        Leave it to a Heat fan to take a Larry Bird/ Paul George thread and turn it into a LeBron JOCK RIDDING party……….TYPICAL!!!!! Just Saying!!!!

      • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:06 PM

        One should know better than to come into a basketball board and say someone other than LeBron is the greatest Small Forward of all time. That’s just being ignorant and thou shalt be ashamed for purposely trying to cause friction!

      • cuejay - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:06 PM

        I’m a Lebron fan. He is a beast… a physical freak of nature. But the one gift Lebron James doesn’t have is shooting. He’s gotten better every year but no one can ever call Lebron a pure shooter. Larry Bird (Reggie Miller, Pistol Pete, Dale Ellis, Del Curry…) the guys are PURE SHOOTERS…and Larry is tops among them. He may not hold all the records but he’s the shooting forward of all time (I hope that’s what edwardemanuelson meant by SF and not small foward).

      • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:21 PM

        I’m a Lebron fan. He is a beast… a physical freak of nature. But the one gift Lebron James doesn’t have is shooting

        The strange thing about that… LeBron has already made more threes in 10 years (1020) than Bird did in his entire career (649).

        Bird had 4 (FOUR) seasons of sub .300 three point shooting. LeBron only has 1… his rookie year. And LeBron’s career 3PT% would probably be higher if he didn’t shoot as many as he does – he has 6 seasons of 300+ three point attempts, whereas Bird’s max is 237. And conversely Bird’s 3PT% would probably be lower if he shot 100 more every year.

        Also, Bird’s career 3PT% is 37.6%… LeBron’s is 36.5% since he’s been in Miami. Both are very good numbers.

        So LeBron is definitely not a bad shooter and he’s actually on pace to finish top 3 all time in three point shooting.

      • bgrillz - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:07 AM

        Bird didn’t play in a cookie cutter league either where a player gets looked at wrong and the whistle blows. Lebron also didn’t play with 10 of the NBA’s all time greats either. Bird, Magic, Michael, Isaih, Olajuwan, Drexler, Stockton, Malone, Kareem, Barkley, Ewing. Lebron has Kobe, Paul Pierce, Melo, KD and a bunch of non factors. The NBA is so soft and watered down now. Lebron goes to the rack during the 80’s and he is going to get hammered to get free throws. Now he gets tapped and he goes to the line. It’s a joke to compare stats from one era to another. Different game altogether.

      • redbaronx - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        @antistratfordian – You can make this about stats and offense, or disrespect to LeBron. But the fact is, anybody that saw both players (and I would bet my life savings that you’re not old enough to have seen Bird personally) would know that Bird had a killer instinct that you couldn’t define. Not unlike MJ by the way.

        LeBron is playing in a watered down NBA where the talent is thinly spread, each playoff round is 7 games, and he hasn’t had to match up against anyone remotely close to being an all time great in his prime. And when he has, his teams have lost (Spurs in 07 and Dallas in 2011) with the exception of OKC last year with Durant, a potential HOF’er.

        I suspect that if you were to ask LeBron, he would at LEAST tell you that Bird was a MUCH better shooter regardless of your 3 pointer stats you posted up here. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out. Just someone that pays attention to watching THE GAME instead of throwing stats up.

        LeBron is a student of the game which is what makes him great, and before the end of his career I’m pretty sure we’ll call him the greatest SF in the game. But as you were so quick to point out, injuries happen! Bird’s career basically ended in 89. You don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. I don’t wish this on LeBron, but we’ve seen this happen time after time. Does anyone remember Ron Harper, the other MJ? Grant Hill? T-Mac? Michael Ray Richardson?

        Whether it’s injuries or some other circumstance, life can make things turn on a dime. For now let’s just say Bird was the greatest without any disrespect to LeBron, and let’s wait till he finishes his career first. There’s plenty of time for that.

    • spthegr8 - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      How about the fact that, Larry ( along with Magic ) helped save the league. Maybe, just maybe, if it wasn’t for Bird. Their wouldn’t be a LBJ…..????????

      • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        That’s fine. I have nothing but respect for Larry and Magic, but that doesn’t make Bird a better basketball player than LeBron. He’s not.

        I say that as an enormous Larry Bird fan. He’s one of my all time favorite players.

      • spthegr8 - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        Why are you talking like we are back in mid-evil times???

      • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:26 PM

        Just in keeping with the theme of my name, thou yeasty ill-breeding knave!!

    • trollaikman8 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:41 AM

      Greatest story ever.
      Not even surprised.

  2. bostonian13 - Jul 22, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Larry Legend.

    • anhdazman - Jul 22, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Exactly bro, Larry Legend is his nickname for a reason! One of the Greatest of All Time. MJ, Magic, Larry, these are the names that automatically comes to mind when I’m thinking of some of the Greatest. I was lucky enough to watch these guys growing up.

  3. dls612 - Jul 22, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Well once you learn how to ride a bike! It’s hard to forget!

  4. kb2408 - Jul 22, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Bird will be a great shooter even when he’s 70 years old! I absolutely hated the Celtics back in the 80’s (and actually still do today). However, they have had a few players that I have liked (Rondo, K.G., McHale, Dennis Johnson, Pierce). But when it comes to Larry Legend I have always been a fan, albeit sometimes begrudgingly. Bird had one of the prettiest jump shots I’ve ever seen. One of the top 10-15 players ever. And, along with LeBron and Elgin, definitely one of the top 3 small forwards ever.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 22, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      Hard to dislike Bird, even as a Lakers fan. One of the all-time greats, and seems like a good guy as well.

    • frakkervance - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      As a Laker fan, have to agree with what kb2408 said, maybe except Rondo. Add The Chief to that as well. Back in the 80’s, I didn’t like the Celtics just for the reason they won over the Lakers, but back then, it wasn’t about hating the players individually. Had much respect for them. Made the battles great.

  5. rickyspanish - Jul 22, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Love it. Larry is the man.

  6. cavemanna - Jul 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Dude your obviously a kid . You don’t measure greatness by awards

    • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      You have to measure it by something, otherwise it’s just a random opinion based on nothing. You can say Pippen is the greatest SF of all time because he has 6 rings and Bird only has 3. Well, Bird has 3 MVPs and 2 Finals MVPs… how many MVPs does Pippen have? One is completely justified in arguing that in favor of Bird because it makes total sense.

      Legends get awards because they’re fantastic players. But LeBron has more awards in 10 years than Bird had in 13 because LeBron is a greater player. I know it sounds simple, and also dismissive of Bird, but there’s no way around that and I don’t think Bird would disagree with me either:

      “I don’t think we’ve quite seen anybody play his position who can do what LeBron can do. We’ve seen scorers, we’ve seen rebounders, we’ve seen defenders, but to have the total package… he’s just spectacular.”

      — Larry Bird

      • skinsfanwill - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:28 AM

        Can’t measure greatness by awards. Steve Nash has more MVP’s than Kobe and Shaq. Was he ever a better player. He is by far the worst PG defender to ever play the game and was abused by Tony Parker in the playoffs. Never won a ring either. the league awards go to whoever will sell the most product now or whoever is the most appropriate marketing clown. It’s all about the money now. dirk Nowtizki got an MVP and wasn’t close to leading in any statistical category. But they league wanted a European MVP to help promote basketball overseas.

      • matanui2005 - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        Out of curiosity, are you old enough to have seen Bird play in his prime? For better or worse, I am, and I can tell you that watching Bird was more impressive.

        Watching LeBron is similar to what I imagine it was like to watch Chamberlain in his prime. One gets the sense that he is a freak of nature, who is simply more physically gifted than everybody else. Yes, he is has terrific court vision, and is a very smart player, but most of his greatness is based on size and strength.

        In Bird’s case, it was always mystifying as to why he was so effective. He couldn’t jump high. He looked like he was moving in slow motion. Btu when he was on the court, amazing things happened. It was remarkable to behold. One would spend the whole game thinking – how did he do that?

        In addition, while it is true that Bird played with many other hall of famers, it’s not clear to me that McHale or Parrish would have been nearly as successful had they played for other teams. My impression is that Bird helped make them into hall of famers.

        None of this means that Bird was a better player than LeBron. Maybe he wasn’t.

        But he certainly “seemed” like he was (at least on offense).

  7. cavemanna - Jul 22, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Lebron is a great player, but isn’t in the same class as the greatest NBA players of all time. He has no killer in him. I know most of you that’s been watching bball for 10-15 years think your looking at the next Jordan, but it’s not even close

    • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      LeBron has three of the most clutch playoff games in history. Game 5 vs Detroit. Game 6 vs Boston. Game 7 vs Spurs. Those are all-time great playoff games – top 10 status. Bird doesn’t even have 1 game on that level.

      And then there’s this:

      LeBron: 5/10 – 50% 
      Jordan: 6/13 – 46% 
      Wade: 1/3 – 33% 
      Melo: 1/4 – 25% 
      Kobe: 3/14 – 21% 
      Durant: 1/5 – 20%

      And also this:

      Highest Game 7 Scoring Average
      NBA History (min. 3 games) 
      1. LeBron James – 34.4
      2. Michael Jordan – 33.1 
      3. George Gervin – 32.0 
      4. Kevin Johnson – 31.0
      5. Jerry West – 30.9

      “He has no killer in him.” <—– smh

      • bulovma0 - Jul 23, 2013 at 12:09 AM

        “Bird steals the ball, passes to DJ” Game 7 vs. Pistons Eastern Conference Finals. One of the clutchest DEFENSIVE moments in the history of NBA. You obviously never saw Bird play if you don’t realize that besides MJ probably the best big game player ever. Your also under rating his 3-time All Defensive team abilities. way off base

      • iblack501 - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:35 PM

        i’m with you when you are right anti but iseen bird finish, put out of their misery, daggers through their hearts & their fans. games against the hawks, rockets, 76’ers, pistons and others. the man was showmanship clutch.

    • kb2408 - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:48 PM

      LeBron is not the “next Jordan”. I think by now it’s clear that they’re not even the same type of player. But to suggest he’s not top 5-10 ever is kinda laughable. I love Bird but the only thing he was clearly better than LeBron at is shooting.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:38 PM

      OMG what is this!!? A reasonable Kobe Bryant fan!? They’re the unicorns of the sports world. I always thought it was just a myth.

  8. wfriedrichs - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Bird score 47 left handed!!!! the most awesome thing ever in NBA history! Lebron plays in a bad conference with the most all star help ever!!!! Cpme at me bro!!!!

    • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:45 PM

      Bad conference? In 1986 the Eastern Conference 8th seed had a 30-52 record!!! In fact, in 1986 the 6th, 7th and 8th seeds were all sub .500 teams.

      Now THAT is a weak conference.

      • bulovma0 - Jul 23, 2013 at 12:23 AM

        1986 Boston Celtics 67-15, 40-1 at home. Bird joins Russell and Chamberlain winning his 3rd consecutive MVP…Bro

    • skinsfanwill - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      The most all star help? Bird played on a team that had 4 hall of famers. How much allstar help do you want?

  9. antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    “Bird score 47 left handed!!!!”

    Only 47? LeBron is left handed and scored 20,000 points with his right.

    • aarondommin - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:50 PM

      Larry Bird played in an area that quite frankly Lebron would not have survived. The way the bulls played Lebron to snap the Heats winning streak was what Lebron, Magic, Michael, etc dealt with every single night back then. Much more respect to Bird for that. Not to mention what Bird was able to accomplish with 1/3 of the athletic ability Lebron was given. Bird is the better basketball player and Lebron is the better athlete.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      Heh. LeBron, Magic and Michael? Freudian slip.

      Hinrich TACKLED LeBron. Jordan, Bird and Magic didn’t have to deal with football tackles. MJ just got shoved and pushed around by the Pistons and the Knicks… but LeBron deals with that every single game.

      • Kurt Helin - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:06 PM

        The game is called far more tightly now and is less physical on the perimeter than it was 20 years ago. That is not LeBron or MJ, that is how the league has chosen to interpret the rules because the grabbing and clutching and fouls were taking the artistry and athleticism out of the game.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:43 PM

        Why be physical on the perimeter when you can play zone? It’s unnecessary. The only reason to be physical on the perimeter with a player like MJ was to keep him from attacking. That was really the only option you had back then aside from double teaming.

        You saw the way the Spurs were playing LeBron in the finals? They were basically playing a legit full bown 2-3 zone sometimes. Obviously, that was absolutely illegal in Jordan’s day.

        The Bulls used to accuse the Pistons of playing zone whenever Jordan would drive… the team would collapse on him… and it worked for years. Now imagine if every team was allowed to just play a full blown zone against Jordan back then (at this time he still wasn’t a confident three point shooter). His struggles against the Pistons would’ve been seen much more often.

      • bulovma0 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:06 PM

        Bird and Magic didn’t have to deal with football tackles? whaaat?? What planet are you from? What would happens to Lebron if he drove the lane against Moses, Mahorn, Jabbar or Parish? The reason Bird was so injury plagued was because he took a beating every night. What enforcers guard the paint in today’s game? JaVale McGee and Spencer Hawes? Your obsession with stats does nothing to disprove what your eyes tell you. The NBA is a shell of what it once was. Players are bigger and faster??? WILTON NORMAN CHAMBERLAIN…that is all.

  10. aarondommin - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:50 PM


  11. ddmcd1974 - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Antistrat you ask us to measure by something right, well let me ask you how many times did you watch Bird play on tv live in the Finals etc? My guess is none since you didn’t know Bird won mvp’s etc. you just threw out Lebrons info/stats with no regard, thinking that’s all you needed. Now it’s very important to know how many games you watched due to he fact that the league then was quite different as most things are but the one thing very different then compared to now was the quality of players at the top of teams. Now 1-12 I would say players are better but its not even close when looking at starting 5’s on each team. I am grateful to have been able to watch the 80’s thru today and without hesitation the top players were better through and through. The nba from say 2002 to 2010 was the most pathetic professional league in terms of talent/stars one will ever see. There were no lulls during Birds era. He was the cream of the crop so to say. It’s almost impossible to compare past decades to prior but viewing with your eyes tells you all you need to know. A YouTube highlight of Bird will never do him or any players of past generations justice. I know you guys now just want 14 words or 3 minute highlights to make your judgements but that doesn’t cut it when trying to dismiss a player such as Bird. We all have our opinions but you dismissed Bird with no thought which is a mistake.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:06 PM

      “My guess is none since you didn’t know Bird won mvp’s etc”

      What are you talking about? I listed all of Bird’s MVPs as well as LeBron’s.

      “I am grateful to have been able to watch the 80′s thru today and without hesitation the top players were better through and through.”

      Good for you. I also watched the 80’s through to today and I think players today are better than they were 20 years ago, for many of the same reasons why Jordan said the players in his day (80s/90s) were better than the players 20 years before him:

      “The players today can do things they couldn’t do twenty years ago…[We’re] bigger, faster players who jump higher.” — Michael Jordan, The Jordan Rules, pg. 62

      “you dismissed Bird.”

      I did no such thing. I said he is one of my favorite players of all time, clearlt the 2nd best SF in history and one of my all-time top 10 players. But he’s not on LeBron’s level and he would agree with me on that.

      • iblack501 - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:23 PM

        anti, you put forth sound arguments backed by facts i’m a fan, thumbs ups. bird/larry legend had/has that IT factor. dave parker had IT jim rice did not. the stories of bird tho all true will continue to get bigger as time goes on. lebron deserves all that he has & will get much more. the percieved chinks in his armor are biases from jealous hearted people whose eyes cannot see through hard heads.

      • iblack501 - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:42 PM

        that’s the rub anti. hard heads already made up mind on what they heard and will not believe what they see. lebron takes a backseat to nobody. killer instinct, making team mates better, shooting, defending, ball handling. this guy is rewriting the standards for which the next 50greatest players will be judged. i hope i am around to witness. like at indy, s’body gonna get bumped.

  12. elwaysmilehighdenver - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    Larry > Lebron

  13. bobthedude - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    LeBron is a living legend without a doubt. But when putting him up against the greatest of all time, you need to also consider the era in which each player played. LeBron has the good fortune of playing in the worst defensive era in NBA history. If he played in the 80’s or 90’s he would have been knocked on his @$$ and he’s so mentally fragile that it would have crushed him.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:31 PM

      I think you’re mistaken. There’s a reason why it’s very difficult now to average 30 ppg and why we don’t have 60 point games anymore… we barely get 50 points games!

      The 2008 Boston Celtics defense (otherwise known as Tom Thibodeau’s defense) where they flood the strong side box can basically prevent any scorer from going off like that. And now every team does it!!

      This was not around in the 80s and 90s because it was then considered ‘illegal defense’…

      • bulovma0 - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:47 PM

        Are you really comparing today’s game to the 80’s ? Obviously you are a younger fella who didn’t watch much hoops until somebody brought his talents to South Beach. Your comparing apples and oranges. To debate LBJ vs. Bird is impossible, two totally different players. But to say the game is more physical now is a joke. Granted illegal D isn’t called, but what good defenders are in the league. Lebron goes up and down the court and gets EVERY call. The only comparison is the big 3 of mchale, bird, and parish would roll Lebrawwwwn, wade, and bosh. Come at me brah! I got a lotta mo

      • ricecrispi28 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:56 AM

        What you don’t realize if you watched old NBA tapes is 4 out of the 5 guys on the floor could hit an open 15-17 ft jumper at 50%. That’s why that defense works now but not then. Guys don’t have a midrange shot. Look at the shot sheet on the floor, at the paint or downtown. When Haslem or Bosh can hit mid range jumpers from the weakside, the Heat look unbeatable.

        You leave one guy on the weak side open on a decent 80s team, that team would shoot 50% or higher. Lots of guys knew how to navigate mid range to the paint like Wilkens, Benard King, McHale, Worthy, Maxwell, and Moses Malone. They could hit the open shot to post to the basket on the weakside.

        When MJ came back after the first retirement, he changed his game to old 80s style mid range game and used it even more as a Wizard. He still score 20 pts and sometimes 30 making defense looking bad at his old age and lack of explosiveness.

  14. garyleee - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Sorry but the Heat were lucky to win the title this year. The Spurs coughed it up. The heat would have never won against the Celtics,Lakers,Sixers,Pistons.Bulls,or even the Rockets with Hakeem, what ah joke! Those teams were deep and could play D. Also Bird would have an easier time with no hand checking.

  15. glmore - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    @ anti

    Bill Russell. 11 time NBA Champion
    5 time MVP

    Come at me bro’ when “King LeFlop” has enough rings to cover 1 hand.

  16. newenglandynasty - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    This guy coming with all these stats fir Lebron, where was Larry’s 3 point line in respect to Lebrons??? Dude what is Miami going to do when Lebron leaves next year?

  17. redstar504 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    Just to throw my 2 cents in the debate you can’t compare Bird to LBJ. The reason why is something someone touched on “people are looking for the next Jordan” and that’s just it there isn’t going to be another Jordan just like there isn’t going to be another Bird, another Magic, another Barkley, another Thomas, another Oakley, another Malone, and so on.

    It’s impossible to compare players today to players from the late 70’s to the mid 90’s. Same sport just two different intensities. Today Kobe gets so much praise for being locked in but being locked in was the norm then. Players in that era truly hated their competition. Think Bulls-Pistons, Nicks-Heat, Lakers-Celtics the level of competition was intense and physical.

    It’s impossible to compare because today’s player is way more athletic but soft and friendly with the competition.

    LBJ would run circles around the old school players but Oakley would knock LBJ’s block off in the paint. Conversely, the old school guys would be sucking wind and foul out in 10 min of today’s game.

  18. mrlitl - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    This article was about Larry Bird. How did we get on LeBron? This is why people hate him. His unrealistic fanatics.

  19. selowitch - Jul 23, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    LeBron and Larry are both fabulous and uniquely skilled players, and comparing them directly is neither very useful nor really very interesting.

    But I’ll add this: One could argue that Bird made his teammates better in ways that LeBron doesn’t (yet); however, LeBron is a much better defender (at 4-5 positions, no less!).

    They’re both awesome in somewhat different ways.

  20. danielgmz - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    Who’s a better shooter? Bird
    Better rebounder? Bird
    Better passer? Bird (there could be discussion towards LeBron)
    Better defender? LeBron

    To me, Larry Bird is the greatest player who has ever stepped on a basketball court, and LeBron is miles away from being there. Had Larry not had the injuries, he would have had an even more amazing career. People underestimate him just because we’re around in a league that appreciates so much the dunks and flashy finishes…

  21. ricecrispi28 - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    Everybody knows Lebron is a streaky shooter. If he’s feeling it, the hoops like like a dumpster to him. When he’s cold, he leaves bricks around like a Detroit suburb. That’s why the recent finals he refused to take jumpshots, Lebron admitted he wasn’t confident in it. He was bricking shots in the end of 4th quarter in the finals. The Spurs previously beat Lebron by giving him open jumpshots and he remembered it. No stats or numbers can change that. Tape is there watch it.

    Another thing is Lebron won two rings against who? A young Thunder team? Then got pushed to game seven against a Spurs team that got tired down the stretch and still one hoop and free throw from losing a series. That’s with Ginobli out of his mind giving more assists to the Heat than Spurs.

    Bird won against murders row. Stacked Lakers, Houston Rockets, Sixers, and Pistons teams. Bird wiped Jordan Bulls and his 63 pts. Lebron went cold against the Mavs with Dirk and role players. Celtic 80s team is much better than Mavs, Thunder, or old Spurs team.

    Lebron is a skilled player, maybe the best SF but his flaws are evident. Streaky jumper, shaky confidence, and dependence on teammates. LBJ should be getting Oscar Robertson numbers, everyone knows that, but he doesn’t. That’s why people don’t want to put him as the best SF. Somethings not right in his game.

    • runthepicketfence - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      Great comment – agree 100%.

      I would also add that I never saw Bird completely “check out” of a basketball game. He may not have always played well, but he busted his balls to make sure the Celts picked up a W.

      Anyone remember Lebron completely disappear in the playoff series against the Celts? Or look at some of the games earlier this year. It’s almost like he just gets scared and tries to hide in the corner … secretly hoping his team will believe he’s actually sitting on the bench. I can’t explain this behavior from a “superstar”, but you never saw any of the other all-time greats check out like Lebron has/does/will. I find it hard to put him in the same conversation as these guys given his lack of testicular fortitude at times. Weird.

  22. GT - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    The LBJ troll in here is as world class as Larry’s greatness over LBJ.

  23. 1historian - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    When the game was on the line Bird had a way of looking at a guy on the opposition with a look that said “I’m Larry Bird and you’re not.”

    Best clutch player ever.

  24. 1historian - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    One more thing – this story is why I hope that Indiana wins at least one while Bird is running the show.

    One of a kind

  25. redbaronx - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    I love this story! It’s just so BIRD! And I agree with 1historian. I’m not an Indiana fan, but I’d love to see them win a ring. If for no other reason than to show that guts, teamwork and work ethic CAN beat the wallet. That’s why I was rooting for the Spurs in the final this year. I have tons of respect for teams like that.

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