Score another one for Larry Legend.

Unlike the two guys he is most often compared to from a certain golden era of basketball, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, Bird is a basketball winner in his post-hoops career.

Yesterday Bird became the first person to ever be named an NBA MVP (1984, '85, '86), NBA Coach of the Year (1998) and NBA Executive of the Year (2012).

Somehow and some way, however, Bird's place in NBA history seems to take a small hit as every year passes.


Basketball fans, young ones in particular, forget or just don't understand how dominant No. 33 was. It's fitting that Bird won the award just hours after his Pacers defeated LeBron James and Co. in Miami.

LeBron continuously dished the ball off in the clutch, deferring to Dwyane Wade when things mattered most for the Heat. He also missed a pair of free throws with under a minute remaining in Miami's Game 2 loss.

Win, lose or draw, Bird wanted more than anything to take the shot with the game on the line. His confidence was over the top at times, like when he told Seattle's Xavier McDaniel that he was going to shoot the ball in his f******* face at the buzzer and called the spot on the floor in which he was going to do it (he made the shot of course).

But Bird's relentless work each and every offseason, in which he hammered home one certain aspect of his game, gave him the confidence that he was the ONLY man on his team who was worthy of taking the big shot. That's one of the many things that separated Bird from his peers as a player.

As a coach and executive, Bird took a different approach. He knew when to defer to those who were more talented than him in certain areas.

During the 1998 playoffs, in which the Pacers took Jordan's Bulls to a seventh game in the Eastern Conference Finals, Bird would often stand feet away from Indiana's time out huddles and allow assistant Rick Carlisle to draw up plays.

Bird also worked with longtime Pacers GM and President Donnie Walsh for a decade before running his own ship, beginning in 2008. In the three years that followed, it seemed as though Bird may have lost his touch in identifying players and it seemed he was slowly being pushed out the door of the front office.

But shrewd trading and the free agent pickup of David West, whom the Celtics highly coveted, turned Bird into a winner once again.

Larry Legend

Celtics legend Larry Bird by the numbers:

12-time NBA All-Star in 13 seasons with the Celtics

3-time NBA champion having led Boston to the title in 1981, 1984 and 1986.

3-time NBA Most Valuable Player, coming in three consecutive years (1984-86)

3-time NBA Most Valuable Player, coming in three consecutive years (1984-86)

21,791 points Bird averaged 24.3 points per game with a high of 29.9 in 1987-88.
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