Larry Bird left a legendary legacy in a Boston Celtics uniform that earned him recognition as one of the game’s greatest talents. Bird accomplished it all behind sustained success fueled by his stellar play. However, one simple play stood out that left Charles Barkley in utter disbelief.
Larry Bird guided the Celtics to historic success
After a highly-decorated collegiate career, Bird immediately transformed the Celtics into a championship-contending franchise.
In his 13-year career, he led Boston to sustained success that featured three NBA titles in five Finals appearances. The Celtics won 10 Atlantic division titles while winning north of 50 regular-season games all but once and more than 60 games six times.
Meanwhile, Bird accomplished tremendous individual feats, winning two Finals MVP awards, capturing three regular-season MVP awards, and receiving 12 All-Star selections and nine All-NBA First Team nods. However, it was a simple play during a game that left a fellow Hall of Famer amazed.
Larry Bird baffled Charles Barkley by scoring on him while condemning his own teammate
Bird wasn’t the most athletically gifted player, but he earned respect from his peers behind his pure skill and feel for the game.
No moment was ever too big for the former Celtics great as he routinely stepped up to the plate. However, it was one simple play from Bird amazed fellow Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.
“Larry uses picks probably better than any player in the game,” Barkley said in an interview with Basketball Network. “Larry was on the box, and Robert Parish was coming down trying to set a pick on me. The Chief didn’t throw a good pick, so while Larry is in the air, he’s got the ball over his head, and he is screaming at Chief for not setting the pick. I’m like, you are screaming at a guy in the air for not setting the pick, and he makes the jumper. I couldn’t believe that.
It wasn’t a flashy play by any means, but Barkley stood in disbelief at Bird’s level of concentration to focus on his shot while berating his teammate. His ability to be unphased served as a critical element in excelling regardless of the moments.
Barkley held the utmost respect for Bird, especially with his keen use of screens set by teammates that opened up shot opportunities. The Celtics star was already heralded as one of the game’s greatest shooters, and having additional open space to shoot created more problems for opposing defenders.
It may be a small example, but it underlined Bird’s unique ability on the basketball court.
Larry Bird’s NBA legacy remains forever strong
Barkley’s anecdote may not have all the glitz and glamor, but it showcased the player Bird was.
The former Celtics great’s intense passion for the game fueled his drive to pull the most out of his talent. His relentless work ethic anchored his confidence that became a key element in his identity.
There are numerous stories regarding his infamous trash-talking, which beckons back to his unwavering faith in his ability with the basketball in his hands. Bird pushed his way toward a legendary career, where he’s regarded as one of the game’s greatest players.
Nearly three decades have passed since he stepped into retirement, but he remains a prevalent part of league history. His iconic rivalry with Magic Johnson saved the NBA from a disastrous fate while cementing himself as one of the game’s most influential players.
Bird’s legacy serves as an everlasting piece of the fabric in shaping what the game of basketball has become.