Larry Bird on being considered the greatest basketball player of all time: “There will be someone better than me”

Whenever a discussion for the greatest basketball player of all time comes up, Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird can’t be left out of the conversation. “Larry Legend,” who played for thirteen seasons with the Celtics, averaged 24.3 points, 10 rebounds and 6.3 assists; won three NBA championships; two NBA Finals MVP awards; and was selected to play in 12 NBA All-Star games. In addition to all of those impressive accolades, Larry was also considered a great leader; in fact, former Celtics player Robert Parish considered Bird an even better leader than Michael Jordan.

Of course, when he himself was asked on his opinion of being discussed in the pantheon of the greatest basketball players of all time, Bird gave an honest, humble self-assessment.

“Basketball is always going to be there,” Bird said in an interview during his final season in the NBA. Ten years from now, there will be someone better than me, bigger than me, stronger than me,” Bird said.

Larry’s rookie season in the NBA was in 1979, during which he was immediately compared to Rick Barry, who played from 1965 to 1980 and was one of the most prolific and accurate scorers of all time. Though Bird appreciated the comparison, he explained that he was a different player from Barry and that he found it more important to be considered the best of his era against his peers.

Larry Bird playing for the Boston Celtics/YouTube

“Rick Barry had his own style, and I had my own style,” Bird added. “But while I’m playing the game, I want to be considered the best because, you know, I can play against Dominique, Magic, I can play at the same level as these guys. That’s what it’s all about.”

Though he’s considered one of the best trash talkers of all-time, Bird could also be humble, as his aforementioned “there will be someone better than me” comment hinted at. Bird downplayed the significance of basketball players in general, stating that hard-working individuals such as those who worked in factories deserve just as much credit.

“I think I’m a great basketball player and just like anybody working in a factory. If the public loved to watch a guy build a chair, make a chair, and they were paid to watch this guy do it, it’s no different if they watch me,” Bird added. “The people who work in factories, I think, deserve more credit than me. It’s just unfortunate for them they just get paid just as we do.”

What do you think of commentary by Larry Bird on being considered the greatest basketball player of all time? Do you consider Bird one of the greatest NBA players of all time? Let us know in the comments.

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