Larry Bird won the 3-point contest three consecutive times from 1986 to 1988. While he faced some lethal shooters, Bird wasn’t able to compete against one of the greatest of them all, Reggie Miller. Bird once shared his thoughts on who would win in a hypothetical duel between him and Miller. Since Larry is a verbose individual, it wasn’t just a simple answer.
Reggie Miller vs. Larry Bird
The Dan Patrick Show held a poll with the great question: Who would win in a 3-point contest between Reggie Miller and Larry Bird in their primes? Bird won the poll. But Kodak was asked for his opinion on the matter, and here’s what he had to say.
“Here’s how I’ll put it, Reggie. If you were my teammate in the pros, I would win, hands down. If I have the opportunity to coach you, I’d say you win,” Bird said, per the Dan Patrick Show.
Perhaps Bird knows a thing or two about Miller’s performance in the 3-point contest. For a long time, he held the all-time 3-point crown. But Miller never won a 3-point contest in his five attempts. Bird knows the difference between the 3-point contest and shooting from beyond the arc in a game. And he’s willing to share his knowledge with Miller.
Different era, same stroke
Bird scored 23/30 in the finals of the very first 3-point contest. This is still one of the highest tallies in the contest’s history, amid modifications it has gone through the years. This is impressive given that during Bird’s heyday, the 3-pointer wasn’t considered a lethal weapon as it is today.
Old heads revealed that they only jacked up a 3-point shot when needed: either to tie the game or win it all. Bird said he only practiced his stroke when the 3-point contest was around the corner. This makes one think: what if he practiced it religiously the way Stephen Curry does?
As noted, Miller was heralded as the best shooter on the planet up until Ray Allen took over. Then, Curry just came out of nowhere and changed the game. Now, Miller sits fourth in the all-time 3-point list, right behind James Harden.
Bird’s little ribbing of Miller and the fact that he’s gone down the 3-point rankings doesn’t diminish the man’s greatness. Whenever we think of Reggie Miller, we remember his choking gesture, hushing filmmaker Spike Lee and the New York Knicks. We also recall how he scored 8 points in 9 seconds. Miller was a great baller in his own way. And nothing can erase his name in the history books as one of the best to ever do it.