How do you want it: spin move, turn around jumper, jump hook, dunk, left hand or right-hand layup?
Larry Bird’s offensive game was as beautiful as he was ugly. You know he’s a great shooter but his name is rarely mentioned anymore as one of the best shooters of all-time because the 3 x NBA Three-Point Contest winner wasn’t in love with taking threes in games. But, if it came down to taking a game-winning three, I would gladly take him over Jesus (Shuttlesworth) or any Golden State Warrior to make that heartbreaker. And despite having less athleticism in his prime than a past-his-prime Wizard named Michael Jordan, I would gladly bet my kid’s college education on Bird, over his Airness, on creating and making a final shot. I’m not saying Bird is better or more “clutch” than Jordan, I just loved seeing how much more defeated a defender looked after having a slow “hick from French Lick” with a bad back hit a game-winner over them, especially if the defender was told by the legendary trash-talker exactly how it was going to happen.
You are probably thinking I’m overrating him right now. And the next thing I’m going to say is he’s a better small forward than LeBron. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say it (out loud).
Besides being everything mentioned above, Bird was also a great rebounder and an underrated playmaker, who could handle the ball and play D better than YouTube videos will show you. Another aspect of his game lost among countless YouTube videos of him hitting jumpers to non-hip-hop music is his post-up game was better than 99% of the current league. Thankfully, BasketballJones48021 complied a 13-minute montage (above) of Bird showing he was just as deadly with his back to the basket as he was facing it.
And here’s some post up tips from Bird and the great Kevin McHale, who Charles Barkley said was the toughest player he ever had to guard.
THE LEFTY GAME
As if I needed another video or story to try to convince you Bird was God in green short shorts, he once told the media he was going to play a game against the Blazers just shooting with his left because he was “saving his right hand for the Lakers” in two days. He did use his right hand but still scored 20 of his 47 points with his off-hand! He also had 14 boards, 11 assists, the shot to force OT and the game-winner in OT.
As for that game with the Lakers, he had 22 points and 18 rebounds in another win against his nemesis.