On the court, Larry Bird was always two, three, or even four steps ahead of everyone else.

It’s no secret that Larry Bird was never the basketball player with the best athletic ability. The Boston Celtics forward’s intelligence more than made up for his lack of physical prowess. Bird has one of the best minds around.

On the court, Bird was usually several steps ahead of everyone else. That was made clear when the Lakers played the Houston Rockets in the 1986 NBA Finals.

 

 

In the mid-1980s, Larry Bird was unstoppable.

You often hear that Bird is a slow runner and not the best athlete. Bird was not quite as athletic as Michael Jordan, but a myth about him was debunked by former teammate Greg Kite.

 

In 2021, Kite told Sportscasting, “It’s just wrong to say he wasn’t athletic, and you hear it a lot.” “Every NBA player is physically fit. He wasn’t quite as quick as some guys, but he was still a strong, competent athlete. He was swift enough and fast enough, yet all NBA players are physically gifted.

 

Kite continued by saying that Bird stood out from the other league stars due to his mental toughness.

 

 

Bird always knew where he was going to go next.

Bird could shoot, indeed. In addition, he might have been the best passing forward the league has ever had. He was always thinking, which is why he was good at anticipating. He frequently had premonition of what would happen.

 

In the 1986 NBA Finals, Bird was Houston’s main focus despite the Celtics starting lineup included four future Hall of Famers. The Rockets threw him against a variety of defenses. For each and every one of them, he had a strategy.

“I always try to find a double-team and position myself to pass the ball first,” Bird said in response to Sports Illustrated during Game 3 of the series. “We don’t have enough time to move the ball around two or three times, so if the clock reaches around ten, I’m just going to try to get a shot up.

 

Our big man simply follows him to the basket, where I hand it to him, if they send their big man over to double me. That’s simple. Maybe I can shoot over a guard if he comes over to get me. I can pass to a man if we cut him through to the basket and no one picks him up or if his man pauses to double-team me.

 

The defender may have to send someone else across if they continue with our guy. The other guard will then either come over from the top of the key for a jump shot or the guard who went through on the low post.

Bird covered every possible ground. He was ready for whatever. His ability to score, pass, and rebound makes him one of the best players to ever wear an NBA uniform.

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