NBA fans adore Larry Bird for numerous reasons. His impeccable basketball skills, mixed with just the right amount of savagery, epitomize the modern-day saying, "it ain't bragging if you can back it up." But more importantly, Bird's legacy was about consistency, especially in shooting.
The 50-40-90 club
Over time, NBA scorers learned how important it is to have consistent shooting in their arsenal. Scoring machines evolved from relentless slashers into all-around walking buckets by constantly softening their touches. In the process, the best to ever do it formed the so-called "50-40-90" club.
Basically, it's a feat scorers accomplish whenever they log at least 50% accuracy for 2-point field goals, over 40% in three points, and more than 90% in free throws. To date, nine NBA players have already achieved it, and most of them were remarkable shooters. Dirk Nowitzki, Reggie Miller, Mark Price, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry are among them, but the first player to join this illustrious club was Larry Bird.
What makes the accolade even more epic, the man himself admitted he wasn't even aware of it.
"I didn't really know about it until somebody told me that very few guys had ever done it, or anybody had ever done it," Bird told Bleacher Report in 2015. "I'd never even heard about it."
Bird just didn't care
Bird once said he knew he wasn't the most athletic player in the world. So, he realized right from the jump that he needed to find a way not only to fit in but also to dominate. Little did everyone know, "The Hick from French Lick" would stand out, and his numbers back it up.
To put this into perspective, Bird had seven seasons with 50% and above two-point field goal shooting, six seasons with 40% and better three-point shooting, and five seasons with a free throw shooting average greater than 90%. Indeed, it's quite impressive. But believe it or not, it could've been way better than that had "Larry Legend" spent more time practicing the three-point shot.
"So I didn't spend a lot of time practicing it," Bird added. "The only time I really ever spent time practicing [it] was right before the three-point contest."
In almost every competitive sport, it has become a famous belief that some were born with God-given talent, and some work hard until they reach the top. As for Bird, it's kind of hard to determine where to put his name between the two categories. Perhaps, he was both.