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Larry Bird Refused To Be Compared To Other All-Time Greats: "What's The Point Of Comparing?"

Larry Bird Refused To Be Compared To Other All-Time Greats: "What's The Point Of Comparing?"

Larry Bird is one of the greatest NBA players to have ever played the game of basketball. The Boston Celtics legend is widely celebrated to this day as one of the top 10 players of all time. However, the man himself hated being talked about in these terms, he always maintained that his focus was on winning. 

Bird was one of the most competitive players of all time, and there are many legendary stories about the time he talked trash to his opponents. Bird knew he was the best player on the court on most nights and never hesitated to let the players he was playing against know that. 

However, he wasn't a fan of comparing his legacy with other players that had gone before him or were playing alongside him. In 1985, George Karl compared Larry to the greats that played before him, putting the 3x NBA champion ahead of all of them. 

“Wilt [Chamberlain] and [Bill] Russell played most of their careers against smaller centers. They were really only tested when they went against each other. Oscar? I only saw him late in his career. By then he was a nice player, but he wasn’t a dominant player like this guy.”

At the peak of his powers, Bird shared his disdain for those debates while speaking to the Orlando Sentinel

“What’s the point of comparing? I do what I do; it’s either good enough or it’s not. I’m concerned with one thing and that’s helping the team win. Boring as that sounds, it’s the truth.”

Bird was often compared to the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving and most prominently, his storied rival Magic Johnson. And while Bird accepted that he was among the best, he clearly had no particular interest in claiming the title of the best ever at the expense of his predecessors and colleagues. 

Larry Legend, as he was called, did do a whole lot of winning though, and his resume does speak for itself. He retired as a 3-time NBA champion, 2-time Finals MVP and 3-time League MVP. He was named an All-Star 12 times during his career and managed to make the All-NBA First Team on 9 occasions. 

In an era where the debate about the greatest player of all time continues to rage on, Bird's refreshing take on the matter is definitely one to keep in mind. Every era has had its greats and there are few that come close to accomplishing what Larry Bird was able to.