Skip to main content

“Larry probably looked like a fuc***g sprinter compared to the way Luka plays” — Byron Scott pushes back on the Luka Doncic - Larry Bird comparison

Apart from the obvious reason, Luka Doncic and Larry Bird often get compared because they dominate despite rarely being the most athletic player on the court.
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and Boston Celtics guard Larry Bird

Luka Doncic and Larry Bird

Since Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic introduced himself to the league, his style of play has long been compared to NBA legend Larry Bird.

Both lack a specific type of athleticism compared to their nemesis, but they still find a way to be the best player on the court because of their playmaking skills, ability to score at ease, and high basketball IQ. (And there's also the white guy thing.) Over the past couple of seasons, Doncic has only been getting better as many believe that it's only a matter of when — not if — he nabs his first championship.

But as Doncic is still in the middle of becoming a complete player, former NBA player Byron Scott is pushing back on the comparison between him and Bird. Scott, who had the chance to play against the Boston Celtic, feels an apparent distinction between Larry's game that's not entirely evident in Luka's.

The difference in pace

In his latest podcast episode entitled The Byron Scott Podcast, the 3-time champion sat down with 7-time champion and former Los Angeles Laker Robert Horry to talk about today's NBA. According to Scott, the slow pace Doncic plays with makes Bird (who isn't exactly known for his speed on the court) look like a sprinter.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Robert Horry: "I look at guys in this era now and you say okay, you look at Bird and say, well, 'I could have stopped him because you know he's slow.' Someone like Luka now, you watch Luka, Luka is so freaking slow and you're like, 'Why can't they stop that?' But when you're crafty and you know how to play, that's all you need."

Byron Scott: "Yeah, I think Bird is fast compared to Luka. I see Luka, he's going slow as hell and he'll get by you. But Larry probably looked like a fuc***g sprinter compared to the way Luka plays."

Larry vs. Luka

While this isn't to say that Doncic shouldn't entirely be compared to Bird but it's pretty obvious that both aren't carbon copies of each other. After all, the reason why Luka is compared to Larry in the first place is that both players can do everything on the court (although Doncic's defense needs some fine-tuning) it's just the speed they approach the game with that's completely different.

Bird wasn't known as a fast player per se, but Scott's reiterated that Doncic's slow pace makes the former look as if he played with such a high speed. It's a compliment for both players but more so on Doncic, who Scott is amazed at how he can impact the game even if he doesn't play at high speed. (Or even medium speed if you ask Scott)

Only time will tell whether or not Doncic deserves to be in the same conversation as Bird. The 3-time All-Star is only 23 years old and has a long way to go to solidify his legacy. Doncic has been in the MVP conversations for the past two seasons and is the early favorite to win next season's MVP award.

Will Doncic be able to translate his potential to maybe 3 championships? Will he prove he's a superstar capable of winning a championship with one franchise just like Bird did? All these questions will need to be answered by Doncic if he wants to be compared (not just in terms of playstyle) and be as successful as Bird was. 

adam-silver-giannis-antetokounmpo-min

“He’s a commissioner's dream.” - Adam Silver dishes out high praise for Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo comes up with solid performance at the 2022 Abu Dhabi Games

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook and head coach Darvin Ham

"Whatever he needs me to do!"-Russell Westbrook and Darvin Ham are off to a good start

Russell Westbrook likes how the Los Angeles Lakers have approached the preseason games

kobe-bryant-shaquille-o'neal-min

“It wasn’t really beef” — Shaquille O'Neal opens up about his story with Kobe Bryant

Shaq also said that he wished he stayed with the Lakers and believes he and Kobe could've won more championships together.

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan

“He’d only score 25 but it would feel like 40” — Foes and teammates reflect on Tim Duncan's signature bank shot

Lon Babby, Duncan’s former agent, explained how the shot perfectly defined the Big Fundamental’s persona.

Shaquille O'Neal

“I want to become a sex symbol” — Shaquille O'Neal revealed his new goal post-basketball career

Shaq wants to lose 20 more pounds with a specific goal in mind - “to do an underwear ad with my sons.”