The Night Larry Bird Showed That Using Just His Left Hand Would Not Preclude Him From Being the NBA’s Best Player

Many people consider Larry Bird to be one of the all-time great basketball players. He was undoubtedly among the greatest in the 1980s. For each of his complete seasons, Bird was selected for the All-Star game. With the Boston Celtics, he won three NBA MVP honors and three championships.

Among the most lethal shooters in the sport’s history is Bird. Throughout his career, he shot nearly 50% from the field. On any given night, the Hall of Famer could hit for forty runs, and that was only with his powerful right hand. Bird decided one evening in 1986 that he was tired of using his right hand to score, so he used his left hand the entire time. One of the most memorable games in NBA history was the one that took place that evening.

Larry Bird predominantly uses his left hand to finish with a 47-point triple-double.


That was February 14, 1986. Nearing the conclusion of an extensive west coast road trip, the Celtics were in Portland with the Lakers in tow. Bird announced his decision to play left-handed to the media and his teammates prior to the game. Why? Bird declared, “I’m saving my right hand for the Lakers.”


Bird made a defensive first block of the game with his left hand. Then, you guessed it, he landed and used his left hand to hit a baseline floater.

But he didn’t stop there. Bird proceeded to use his left hand just to make ten shots during the contest. In the end, he recorded a triple-double of 47 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. In overtime, he also made the game-winning jumper. In the end, it was Bird’s second-highest scoring performance in the whole 1985–86 campaign.

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