Julius Erving Paid Larry Bird the Ultimate Compliment by Dubbing Him ‘the Best Shooter I’ve Ever Seen’

Larry Bird remains one of the NBA’s most influential players after his legendary career with the Boston Celtics. Bird changed the game behind his utter dominance throughout much of the 1980s. His stellar play led fellow Hall of Famer Julius Erving to voice the utmost praise regarding his shooting ability.

Larry Bird guided the Celtics to historic success

Bird didn’t take long to transform the Celtics into a powerhouse.

The French Lick product earned recognition as one of the game’s greatest players during his 13-year career. He captured three NBA titles and two Finals MVP awards, garnered three regular-season MVP awards, and received 12 All-Star selections and nine All-NBA First Team nods. He remains the only forward in league history to win the regular-season MVP award in three straight campaigns.

Bird’s dominance guided the Celtics to reach the playoffs in each campaign while winning 10 Atlantic division titles. Boston also recorded 50 wins all but once, while topping 60 wins six times. His excellence also enamored fellow Hall of Famer Julius Erving enough to voice the ultimate praise.

Julius Erving paid Larry Bird the ultimate compliment by dubbing him ‘the best shooter I’ve ever seen’

Erving played nearly two decades where he played alongside and against some of the game’s greatest talents.

It also put him in numerous matchups against Bird as the Celtics and 76ers battled for NBA title contention in the early 1980s. However, Erving noticed from the start of Bird’s career that he was a unique talent that shot the basketball like no player he had ever seen before.

“What I notice right away about Larry, even as a rookie, is that not only he can get his shot, and he has amazing range for a big man, but he will make it too,” Erving said wrote in his book entitled Dr. J: The Autobiography via Basketball Network. He may be the best shooter I’ve ever seen. And he is a smart passer, able to thread the ball through inches of daylight. And he will not stop working.”

Bird earned a strong reputation behind his scoring ability, anchored behind his outside shooting. He shot 49.6% from the floor and 37.6% from beyond the arc on 1.9 attempts per contest. He hit at least 40.0% from 3-point range six times while hitting at above a 50.0% clip on five occasions.

The Celtics great’s lack of athletic prowess led him to become a more fundamentally sound player focusing intently on his shooting. Bird only became a highly effective shooter that only buckled down more in high-pressure situations.

With Erving’s book being published in 2013, he may have changed his mind a bit in that regard due to Stephen Curry’s remarkable shooting over the last several years. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t diminish the former 76ers’ tremendous praise.

Celtics legend’s legacy remains a prominent fixture


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Beyond Erving’s tremendous praise, Bird’s legacy and impact on the game reach far beyond his outside shooting touch.

The Celtics great remains among the gold standard at his position while cementing himself as one of the most influential talents. Bird played a pivotal role in lifting the NBA from a disastrous fate through his iconic rivalry with Los Angeles Lakers star point guard Magic Johnson. The two Hall of Famers pushed the league to heights of global popularity that hadn’t been reached before.

Nearly three decades after stepping into retirement, Bird remains a prominent part of the game that will never fade into the background.

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