Larry Bird is widely known as one of the best players in NBA history. The Celtics legend achieved numerous accolades, being a 3-time champion and a 12-time All-Star, fortifying his place as a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
But even though he is one of the greats, there was still a lot of doubt about Bird at the start of his career. He wasn’t the most athletic player and was kind of stereotyped, being a white guy in a league dominated by black players. Bird had a lot of pressure on his back, as he was seen as an easy target. That is until his opponents faced him for the first time.
Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing is also known as one of the great players and centers in NBA history, and he has had a great relationship with Larry Bird ever since playing with him in the Dream Team in the 1992 Olympics. Ewing talked about Bird and how a lot of people didn’t appreciate him early in his career on the Dan Patrick Show back in 2018:
“I remember growing up in Boston. People always used to talk about like that he can’t jump, he can’t do this, he can’t do that, and a lot of my friends was like that, you know. So when I got to the league, I called all my friends back up: ‘All that trash you been talking, you need to squash all of that. This man is great. Whatever you were saying for a man that can’t jump, he’s demolishing everybody.‘”Patrick Ewing, The Dan Patrick Show
Ewing saw firsthand that Bird was no joke, as he was giving it to the whole league at that time, averaging 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game for his career and proving everybody that said he isn’t the real deal wrong.