Skip to main content

Larry Bird had a unique approach to practicing in which he avoided playing 3-on-3.

larry bird copy (5)

Larry Bird is a true legend of the game and one of the most skilled and accomplished players of all time. Bird won pretty much anything a player can win from a team and individual perspective in his illustrious NBA career, and he did it with unbelievable dominance. Even though there was a lot of prejudice towards Bird when he first came into the NBA back in 1979, with analysts saying he is too slow and not athletic enough, it didn't take long for Bird to make a name for himself and establish himself as a legitimate franchise player.

However, the road to becoming an NBA superstar wasn't so easy for Bird, who spent countless hours working on his craft behind closed doors when nobody was looking. That is how true champions are made no matter which sport they are competing in, and for Bird, it was no different.

In Mark Shaw's book Larry Legend, there is an insert in which Bird explains his unique approach to practicing and why he rarely played 3-on-3. Even before he became an NBA player, Bird knew practicing hard, learning the fundamentals of the game, and different strategies is the best way he can be competitive and dominant over other players. Bird would work out for hours, getting thousands of shots up from every possible position on the court.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

When I'm out there by myself, what I'm doing is practicing my rhythm. You can play three on three for an hour and a half, and you'll possibly take one hundred shots. I can go out myself at the same time and take one thousand shots anywhere I want.

Larry Bird, via Larry Legend

Growing up with big brothers who also played basketball was one of the reasons Bird was super competitive. He was getting beaten often by his brothers, and after a while, he realized he would have to be smarter than they are if he can't match up with them physically. That is how Bird played the game his entire career, approaching it more as a chess player than a basketball player, always thinking few steps ahead of the competition.

I think that Larry just reached the point where he didn't want to be beaten anymore. So he began finding ways to beat you. He was always thinking about the game, figuring strategy.

Mark Bird, via Larry Legend

When he was a kid, Bird used his high basketball IQ and working habits as a tool to beat his brothers when they played each other. His approach towards practicing and becoming a better player never changed. After he got to the NBA, it became even more rigorous because he wasn't facing his older brothers anymore but some of the best players on this planet. He adapted quickly, and with his intelligence, competitiveness, and pure basketball savviness, became the top dog among the best players in the world, inducing fear in a lot of them every time they had to play against Bird.

Want to stay up to date with the latest news and reactions?Download our NBA news feed for breaking news, live stats, and game coverage.

The origin of Michael Jordan's Jumpman logo

Michael Jordan’s Jumpman logo inspiration was revealed and it’s not what you think

Michael Jordan used his own brand to build a business empire. The iconic Jumpman logo will be forever associated to him. However, it was actually inspired from a ballet move and not MJ going for a dunk.

How Kobe Bryant's endorsements helped him bring in money off the court

How Kobe Bryant's endorsements helped him bring in money off the court

Bryant quickly inked a sneaker deal with Adidas that helped open up many different doors for him in the future.

Ray Allen “hearbroken” on overturned abortion verdict

Ray Allen is “hearbroken” after the overturned abortion verdict: "Guns are more protected than a woman’s rights are"

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, removing women's right to abortion which prompted Ray Allen to compare the ruling to rectifying gun laws.

Morris Peterson on getting ejected after slapping Vince Carter: 'We always joke around'

Morris Peterson on getting ejected after slapping Vince Carter: 'We always joke around'

In 2006, Morris Peterson and Vince Carter playfully slapped one another during a game that resulted in Mo Pete being ejected

5 notable 2022 rookies - NBA stars comparisons

The playing style of these 5 notable 2022 rookies already resembles their NBA counterparts

Five of this year's pool of rookies already resemble the playing styles of some of the current NBA stars

Stephen A. Smith bashes New York Knicks draft activity

“Everybody got something but one team, and that’s the New York Knicks - Stephen A. Smith bashes New York Knicks draft activity

The Knicks seemed to have pulled off a sweet move for Jalen Duren, but ended up trading him to the Detroit Pistons, which enraged many Knicks fans, including Stephen A. Smith

Terrell Brandon on being hyped as the best point guard during the 90s

Terrell Brandon on being hyped as the best point guard in the 90s: "It's a little embarrassing"

In 1997, Sports Illustrated hailed Terrell Brandon as the best point guard in the NBA. However, "Tee Bee" just laughed and downplayed it all

Mark Madsen on Kobe Bryant's intensity

Mark Madsen describes Kobe Bryant's intensity: "If you miss the third one, he was comin’ at you"

Mark Madsen was never a key figure for the Lakers but Kobe Bryant didn't take that as an excuse not to deliver. Not even during practice sessions.