When Magic and Bird controlled the game, why didn’t Jordan ever win? Bird was the lone newcomer to the Celtics, who had the poorest record in the NBA when he joined, and he had the finest rookie season. In the postseason, Bird twice defeated Jordan. Never dropped out.

since their teams were superior. His team had just finished a 27-win season and had missed the playoffs the previous two years when Michael Jordan joined the NBA. Although Jordan was a fantastic player on his own, the Bulls needed a stronger roster and head coach to support Jordan. In the meantime, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were already part of winning teams who had excellent coaching staffs and players of the highest caliber playing with them. Bird and his teams were older and dealing with injuries by the time Jordan’s teams were competitive enough to compete.

After Jordan defeated Magic Johnson in the NBA Finals in 1991—his first title in five games—there was no doubting who “ruled” the game going forward. Jordan outscored Magic by more than 12 points per game and nearly tied him in assists. Regarding the Larry Bird story, there are several things that are not accurate. Indeed, when Larry Bird joined the NBA in 1979, he gave the Celtics new life and helped them achieve the best record in the league. That cannot be disputed. However, when Bird joined the team, the Celtics already had some important players. In 1976, Bill Fitch was the previous coach of the year.


Bird was mature enough to get right in there right away, and he was a little bit older than most rookies. Jordan, on the other hand, joined a team in the NBA without a history of winning, and his main instructions were to shoot the ball as much as he could and ride his youthful enthusiasm. Thus, we are discussing two quite distinct situations.

In the postseason, Michael Jordan never defeated Larry Bird. That is accurate. It was, however, because he was never given a fair chance at it. Until his retirement in 1989, Bird’s Celtics were always defeated in the first or second round; Jordan would later defeat three of those opponents when playing for the Bulls. To be fair to Larry Bird, his teammates were aging and he was dealing with back issues. But that’s the nature of time. It’s not like the situation involving Larry and Magic, who both joined the NBA in the same season and played against one other during their heyday.



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