Even though the NBA has seen its share of great players through its rich history, the consensus opinion of the better part of the NBA world is that Michael Jordan is the undisputed greatest player of all time. But every once in a while, we can hear different opinions, especially from players that played in his era and saw other guys match up with MJ.
One of the players that don’t get mentioned enough in the GOAT conversation is the legend from Boston, Larry Bird. But that’s why his teammate and a great player in his own right, Kevin McHale, described what made Larry Bird the best player ever, in an old-school bit.
“His time came. But I’ll tell you he had a hell of a run. Say whatever you want about the man; he had a hell of a run when he was out there playing. He was the best I’ve ever played with, against, or anything I’ve ever seen. People dive on Michael Jordan now and stuff; Michael Jordan can do a ton of stuff, but I don’t think anyone was as good in the last few seconds as Larry was.”Kevin McHale, The Universe Galaxy
When you look at the totalities of their careers and their accolades, Jordan does have a pretty obvious case for being better. But if you want to compare the two in their peaks, you can have a serious discussion. Of course, we all know what MJ was, an athletic phenom that worked so much on his game that he became a player without a weakness. But when you talk about pure basketball skill and IQ, Bird has the edge on Jordan.
Larry wasn’t near the natural-born athlete MJ was, but Bird managed to become one of the best with his sheer ability to do anything with the ball. Shoot, play in the post, distribute, rebound, and most importantly, win his team games in the clutch. Sure McHale is a bit biased in his opinion, as he had the chance to play alongside Larry in his best days, but that doesn’t diminish the fact Bird’s name has to be up there with the best to do it.