Larry Bird: The Best Player to Ever Grace the Court

The Celtics’ Larry Bird (pictured) makes a layup during a game

Steven Carter

The Celtics’ Larry Bird (pictured) makes a layup during a game

Markus Groves, Staff Writer

Most avid basketball fans passionately argue over which player they consider to be the “greatest of all time” (i.e. the GOAT). Among the most prominent names fans choose are those of Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kareem Adbul Jabbar. None of these players, however, are the GOAT. Larry Bird undoubtedly is. 

When Bird was on the court, he was an unstoppable force—a reckoning that the defenses of competing teams could not withstand. His offense was impeccable, as he was an incredible offensive player, demonstrated by his overwhelming knowledge of the game and skillful shooting. During one of the best games of his career, March 12, 1985,  he scored a remarkable 60 points against the Atlanta Hawks. It was such an incredible display that even the Hawks bench began to applaud Bird’s heroics. 

While other players in contention for the status of being proclaimed as the GOAT may have had games scoring over Bird’s 60 points, they simply didn’t do so in the fashion that Bird did. He was a player like none other, and the pioneer of the three-point shot. Additionally, he played in the NBA during a time when offense was not nearly as prioritized by the rules as it is today. 

Bird’s accomplishments on the court were recognized across the basketball community, as he won MVP three times, was a three time All-Defensive team player, one time NBA All-Star MVP, and a Rookie of the Year—an impressive accomplishment considering he faced players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, and Magic Johnson. 

Bird’s legacy doesn’t stop there, though. Throughout his career he led the Boston Celtics to the spectacle that is the NBA Finals five times. Bird’s Celtics emerged victorious in three of those outings, and he would go on to win NBA Finals MVP twice. While his championship resume was not of the calibre of his rival Magic Johnson’s, Bird was on less talented teams, making his wins even more impressive.

Bird’s ability to be a team leader cemented his as the Celtics’ most important player during his tenure on the team. Nowadays, many of the players commonly believed to be the GOAT have been put onto super-teams, outmatching any of their opponents primarily for that reason. In these cases, there are multiple big names on the team which reduces players’ responsibility and makes being a team leader unnecessary. This was not the case with Bird, though. He was a team leader, and was just that great of a basketball player. 

Larry Bird is the GOAT. His career highlights his amazing basketball legacy unlike it does for any other player in the history of the NBA. When people initiate a conversation about who the real GOAT is, number 33—“Larry Legend”—should be at the top of the list.