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Just a reminder that Larry Bird could pass the rock (VIDEO)

Aug 9, 2013, 11:52 AM EDT

What makes the 1980s my favorite NBA era to watch replays of is simple: The two best players in the game were amazing passers.

People remember Magic Johnson’s assists, but they sleep on Larry Bird, who also had this amazing court sense and ability to find the open man. In case you forgot, here is eight minutes of Larry Bird making great passes.

Combine this passing with a faster tempo and what you get is ball movement and player movement off the ball that is very difficult to defend. Too many NBA coaches want to slow things down now and micromanage the game today, but if you have players you can trust they can create beautiful basketball.

Hat tip to Trey at The Basketball Jones and John Schuhmann.

  1. vi3tguy415 - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    and oh yea. Jordan can dunk. Stockton can dish out. d12 can play d. lets write something about them. OF COURSE BIRD Could PASS! WTH. omg!!!

  2. dls612 - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Larry Bird look like on of the dudes that most ball players underestimate and then you see his game and you be like DAMN!

    • dls612 - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      ( one ) I know!

  3. whitey11177 - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    They really loved using the backboard! #fundamentals.

  4. cmehustle - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Man Im so happy yall uploaded this vid. I tried to tell some idiots Larry was one of the best passing forwards if not the best ever. They was like na man Larry Bird only got credit cause he was white, he could only hit threes. Im like na he really was one of the greatest ever, and he didnt even shoot threes like people think, he preferred to shoot twos. But this video shows off skills people who never saw him play and never thought he had. I love it! And I hate the celtics!

  5. jamieaadams - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Great stuff. It also neat seeing McHale score about 5,000 points in that video.

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      McHale and Parrish probably would have had a lot less points without Larry Bird’s unbelievable passes. Bird could not be intimidated (ask Julius Erving, the Detroit Pistons, and Kareem) but was sure to get under the skin of just about any opponent. Bird made them all look like stiffs, and it helped to have a great supporting Celtics cast. Thanks very much for this great video compilation.
      Note to kids: don’t try this at home. You might hurt yourselves!

  6. 12444uggg - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Larry would dominate in today’s game. The production music in the back round is so early 80’s.

    • metalhead65 - Aug 9, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      maybe that is because he played during the 80’s when people actually played music instead of scratching records and talking fast. this is by the Alan Parsons Project a great progressive group of the 80’s. every era is different but at least people played instruments then,if put a guitar in front of today’s artist’s and unplugged the recorded tracks they dance to and told them to put on a concert you would get 2 hrs. of silence.

  7. jimeejohnson - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    So would Magic. But Bird’s passing was part of his very complete game. I especially liked Bird’s touch passes which caught the defense totally off-guard. And they didn’t call him “Magic” for nuthin’! Johnson could play any position on the court and play it well. Michael Jordan might be the GOAT, but Bird and Magic are very close behind.

  8. anhdazman - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    I was fortunate enough to grow up having the chance to see the greatness of Larry Bird. Larry had the same special skill as Magic Johnson on the court. He saw the play unfold 2 seconds and 2 steps before it would happen. You could say he had eyes in the back of his head. It was awesome to watch him play his game. Being a Warriors fan, I felt we had a poor man’s Bird in Chris Mullin. Very similar game. Bird was the master and Mullin the student.

    These guys didn’t beat you on their pure natural talent and overall physical skills. No, they were probably slower, barely able to jump that high and was probably weaker than most of the guys they matched up against, but their basketball IQ were through the roof. Basketball fundamentals and always seemed to know exactly how to handle any situation a defense stacked against them.

    You just don’t see a guy in today’s game that you say, hey, his game reminds me of Larry Bird or Chris Mullin. Bird and Mullin were just simply unique.

    • skinsfanwill - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      You don’t see that any more because white boys can actually jump and run fast now. Any comparing Mullin to Bird is downright disrespectful. Mullin, although a good player in his day, was by far no Larry Bird. Or even close.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 10, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        He didn’t say Mullin was as good as Bird. I grew up in Indiana and went to IU from 85 to 89.

        I’ve always been a HUGE Larry Bird fan and I’m glad he’s back running the Pacers…

        The poster above meant no disrespect to Bird with what he said about Mullin. Yes, Bird is MUCH better but it’s easy to see that he was comparing two white players who weren’t athletic, who were both good shooters (well Mullin has a higher career 2 pt and 3 pt shooting percentage than Bird – but Bird is still the much better player overall) and who had high basketball IQ’s.

        So with those similarities in the two, yes one may compare them as long as they acknowledge that Bird is the superior player, which he did when he said Bird was the master and Mullin was the student…

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      It’s truly incredible the ballhandling skills and passing ability Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had at 6’8″ and 6’10”.

  9. kb2408 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Larry Bird was a baddddddddd man!!

  10. rjlink1 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    There have been only three grandmasters of the game of basketball: Magic, Michael, and Larry.

    • fanofevilempire - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      Bill, Lew and Oscar, just a few and here comes the others…………….

      The guys today are bigger, faster and stronger but they don’t have the basketball IQ and
      they don’t listen because they know it all, Cousin, Beasley and Javele and many others.

      Sports has become about money and celebrity, the art of the sport may be lost, even the
      reporting is bad and it can never go back.

    • hannsta - Aug 9, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      And Luke Babbit.

    • historygeek6 - Aug 9, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      Um… Excuse me… Did we forget Ed Nealy?
      How many hundreds of interviews have we seen of Jordan saying how early on he “ached in his bones” to one day be half as good as Ed?
      Oops… Different wormhole… Never mind!

  11. kingcrusher - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    The thing I loved about watching Bird was that Basketball was his life. There was no commercialization, no dramatics, no phony-baloney activity that makes you think Basketball was just his job. He WAS basketball.

    Oh man, I miss having players like him in the league. The ones that had pure talent and a love for the game that transcended any other facet of life. What you saw was what you got, and what you got was amazing.

    Larry and Magic were the two most complete players I have ever seen in all my days. Yes, James is great, but not in the same league as those two. Even Jordan gets my nod as … #3, behind Larry and Magic.

    Wish another player would come along with that kind of drive, skill, and passion for the game. Not worrying about making 20 million instead of 15 million and causing a scene because of it. There was a year when McHale refused a raise because it would put him over what Bird was making. He just couldn’t justify making more than Bird when Bird was simply the best.

    Loved the video, miss those days when basketball was a passion, and not an element of thug life.

    • Kurt Helin - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:42 AM

      No commercialization? Did you see the McDonald’s ads?

  12. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 9, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    There’s only one forward who ever passed the rock better than Bird: LeBron James. When LBJ averaged 8.6 assists in 2009-2010 he broke Larry Bird’s record for a forward of 7.6. Pippen was also a great passer.

  13. sumerisacuminin - Aug 10, 2013 at 5:52 AM

    I was a student at Indiana State when Bird was there. I don’t remember any particular shot he made, but I still remember a 3/4 length of the floor bounce pass that he made to a player streaking toward the basket.

  14. mydoghasfleez - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    If the discussion is amazing passers, then you gotta include Pete Maravich. He wasn’t in the same league as the greats mentioned here (overall talent), but he could anticipate & deliver the ball better than anyone (with Magic being the best).

    Wilt was accused of not sharing the ball & having subpar passing skills until he got tired of the criticism & went out & led the league in assists.

  15. pcsurfer - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    Larry Legend. I love how he actually goes to the ground battling for the loose ball unlike today’s players who fall to ground all the time for no reason at all.

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