What is the extent of Larry Bird’s significance in the sports world?

In addition to being among the top 20 players in NBA history and one of the greatest pure shooters ever, Larry Bird was also one of the best basketball players of his era. The fact that he was so modest adds to the absurdity of it all. He wasn’t the biggest or most handsome player on the court. He didn’t leap out of the gym, and he wasn’t quick. Nothing about him suggested that he would become an all-time great. As one of the greats in sports, he is highly regarded. The first thing that catches you off guard is his shooting.

Over his career, he shot over 50%. In five different seasons, he averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. made 12 of his 13 seasons on the All-Star team. His passing was incredible, and he had a lightning-fast release speed. He was also a tenacious defender who posted players up on defense and wasn’t afraid to get nasty. Any honor that Bird receives, he merits and has earned.

By speaking with the players who participated in the rivalry, the ESPN 30-for-30 series Lakers-Celtics: Best of Enemies delves deeply into the significance of this rivalry from the 1980s. Donnie Walhberg and Ice Cube contribute more commentary from the viewpoints of opposing fans.


The series’ focal point is hinted at by the rivalry between Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird, which started when the two players faced off for the NCAA collegiate basketball national championship.

In the professional ranks, the Magic and Bird rivalry grew stronger as these two essentially controlled basketball in the 1980s. The show’s creators don’t hold back when discussing the apparent but (largely) unstated truth that Johnson is black and Bird is white, and how that influences how basketball fans all throughout the country perceive one other. This was demonstrated by the contentious remarks made by two African-American players for the Detroit Pistons following their elimination from the NBA playoffs by the Boston Celtics. Dennis Rodman went on record as saying that Bird was “overrated,” and Isaiah Thomas stated that “if Bird were black, he ”would be just another good guy” instead of being portrayed as the league’s best player.”


There is still evidence of a clear racial gap between Blacks and Whites in America, more than thirty years later.


However, another noteworthy revelation illustrates just how significant Larry Bird is. A Celtics player (I believe it was Cedric Maxwell, but don’t hold me to it) claimed in an interview that he had seen Larry Bird’s pictures hanging in a barbershop that catered nearly exclusively to black customers.


THAT encapsulates the significance of Larry Bird in the history of basketball.


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