Larry Bird Perfectly Summed Up His Legendary Career In 5 Words

Larry Bird

Getty Larry Bird summed up his career perfectly in a conversation during All-Star Weekend.

Somehow Larry Bird became one of the greatest basketball players the NBA has ever seen. The Boston Celtics legend wasn’t the most athletically-gifted player to lace ’em up on the court. He was never the fastest nor did he jump the highest, but Bird found a way to capture three straight MVPs in the mid-1980s.

During All-Star Weekend, Bird sat down with former Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller and former Detroit Pistons champion Isiah Thomas to reminisce about their playing days. During the conversation, Bird accurately described his career in five words, saying, ‘I brought it every night.'”

Larry Bird Is Arguably the Best Player in Boston Celtics History

Bird is considered by many as the best player in Celtics history. If he’s not No. 1, he’s right behind legendary center Bill Russell. Russell, of course, has the better resume after winning 11 championships with the organization.

While Russell was a defensive-minded center who captured five MVPs, Bird was the better all-around player. Bird is arguably the best passing forward in league history who led the Celtics to three championships and five NBA Finals appearances in the 1980s.

Bird was different. He played through pain. He played to win every night. His all-out effort may have shortened his career, as he played through back pain that eventually forced him into retirement.

“The one thing that I have that a lot of don’t have — there’s a lot of players who have it — I had the ability to play every night,” Bird said with Miller and Thomas on NBA on TNT. “I brought it every night.

“I had a good understanding that the Celtics paid me to win basketball games. It was my job to win basketball games, so every time I walked out there, I felt like I had to win to make them happy. The one thing I can say in everything that I’ve done is I gave it my all. I paid the price with a lot of injuries I had, but I laid it on the line every night — practice, playing — and it made me better. Plus, I was playing against the world’s best. That’s what it’s all about.”

Is Bird a Top-5 Player of All-Time?

Bird played 13 NBA seasons and was an All-Star in 12 of them. His lone non-All-Star year came during the 1988-89 season when he was limited to six games after undergoing surgery on both heels.

As a rookie, Bird singlehandedly turned around a Celtics team that won 29 games the previous year and made Boston a league-leading 61-win team in the 1979-80 season. He won Rookie of the Year honors after averaging 21.3 points and 10.4 rebounds. In his second NBA season, the Celtics won the first of their three titles in the decade.

From 1984 to 1986, Bird won three straight MVPs and led the Celtics to championships in ’84 and ’86.

While some say Russell was Boston’s best, Red Auerbach, the former coach, GM, and president of the Celtics gave the nod to Bird.

“I’ve done a lot of soul-searching,” Auerbach said at Bird’s retirement, per United Press International. “I’ve decided, quite frankly, that he’s the greatest player ever to put on a uniform.”

That’s major respect coming from someone who coached Russell.

If he’s not the best, he’s certainly a top-10 player in NBA history, but could he crack the top five?

Lists like these are always subjective, but he’s certainly in the mix with players like Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Russell, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Tim Duncan.

Top 10 is a given. Top five is probable.

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