The 25 Greatest Players of the NBA's Golden Era

3. Larry Bird

Accomplishments: 12-time All-Star, Three-time NBA MVP, Three-time NBA Champion, Nine-time All-Defensive First Team
Team(s): Boston Celtics
Career Stats: 24.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Years Played: 1979-1992

The Celtics took a gamble in drafting Bird, as they held on to his rights for a full year while he continued to play at Indiana State. The risk turned out to be well worth it, though, as Larry Legend became one of the all-time greatest players in the history of the NBA. What he lacked in raw athleticism, he had in unparalleled ball skills. His ability not just to shoot, but also to pass into seemingly impossibly small places made him one of the premier distributors in the history of the game, on par with any of the all-time great point guards. His ridiculous shooting hot streaks were his calling card, and on nights where his shot was falling, everyone else innately knew to just give him the ball and get out of the way. His career was cut short by a bad back that used to send him to the hospital to lay in traction between games, leaving Celtics fans to wonder what could have been had he just been able to stay on the court a few more years.

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