Former Boston Celtics great Larry Bird wasn’t the most athletically gifted player, but he used that to excel in other areas. Bird’s unrelenting passion for the game led him to develop into a highly effective all-around talent. Among those qualities was being an all-time great free throw shooter, leading him to develop a strong stance toward NBA players that fail to become effective at that aspect.
Larry Bird’s legendary NBA career
Bird spent his illustrious 13-year career with the Celtics, where he elevated himself to legendary status as one of the game’s greatest talents.
The French Lick product anchored Boston’s success, leading the franchise to 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 wins six times.
Bird constructed a remarkable career behind winning two Finals MVP awards, earning three regular-season MVP awards, and receiving 12 All-Star selections and nine All-NBA First Team nods. He remains the only forward to win three consecutive regular-season MVP awards.
His sustained excellence pushed him to develop a strong stance concerning free throw shooting that leaves him quite bothered.
Larry Bird bashed NBA players who can’t make free throws consistently: ‘Some guys seem to take missing free throws for granted’
Bird’s approach to the game placed tremendous importance on mastering the fundamentals of his craft.
The former Celtics great left no stone unturned with working on his skills. It included shooting free throws as he remains one of the league’s best ranking 13th all-time at 88.57%. In his book Larry Bird Drive: The Stort of My Life, he voiced significant criticism toward players that don’t practice enough at the charity stripe.
“One thing I’ve never really understood since I began playing basketball is why more players don’t make an effort to become reliable free throw shooters,” Bird said via Basketball Network. “It just takes practice and hard work. And concentration. Some guys seem to take missing free throws for granted. They’ll say, ‘I’ll take my chances when I get there.’ Or I don’t get fouled much, so why worry about it? I can’t understand that type of thinking. It’s an easy two points, and a lot of games come down to what happens at the free-throw line.”
Bird’s remarks feature much credence given his excellence at the free-throw line, hitting above 83% in each of his 13 seasons. It includes posting above 90% in four out of his last five campaigns.
In the 2021-22 campaign, the league average sits at roughly 77.8%, which underlines that effective free-throw line shooting is feasible. Seven players are currently hitting at least 90%, and 37 overall are making above 85% of their attempts. It gives way to that being an efficient free-throw shooter isn’t an unobtainable task. The bottom line remains that Bird’s comments are right on the mark.
Larry Bird’s legacy holds an everlasting place in NBA history
Bird may not have been the most athletically gifted player, but he got the most out of his talent.
His unwavering dedication to his craft pushed him to excel in other areas of his game, allowing him to dominate much of the 1980s. Bird remains heralded as one of the gold standards at the small forward position behind his all-around playing style.
Meanwhile, the sustained success he guided the Celtics toward elevated him to legendary status. All that has cemented him as a prevalent part of the league despite it being nearly three decades since he stepped into retirement. He accomplished it all on the court, and his legacy only grows stronger.