Larry Bird: LeBron James is as Good as Anyone Ever
Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen committed high treason when he said LeBron James may be the greatest basketball player ever. Not only was it questionable because LeBron James had never won a title when he said it (and still hasn’t), but also because Pippen played alongside Michael Jordan, who is considered to be the greatest player all time. Another player whose name is mentioned in the “all-time greats” conversation is Larry Bird, who won three championships with the Boston Celtics.
Bird, who recently has been compared to Dirk Nowitzki, went on Galloway & Co in Dallas Thursday and was asked if he felt badly about the criticism LeBron James has received. Here was his answer as transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews (with a few edits). The audio clip is also below:
“He brought a lot of it on himself. Here’s what I feel about LeBron as a player: I think he’s as good as anyone who’s ever played this game. I think he’s going to win a lot of titles. I think he’s going to continue to get better. To me, he’s an amazing athlete. He’s never been hurt, he’s got the body of a football player, and he’s got skill — I just think he’s off the charts good. And I think his time is going to come. I think they did a remarkable job in Miami this year by bringing that team together and getting where they got. They’ll get better next year. His time is going to come if they stay healthy, and he’s going to have a lot of success in this league and win championships.”
So there’s Larry Bird with a fresh dose of healthy perspective. He separated the criticism LeBron’s received from how he is as a player on the court. LeBron is a great player, he is an amazing athlete, and he will win championships. They will come. Is he Michael Jordan? Is anyone Michael Jordan? No, and the two are not even similar players. LeBron needs to work on his outside shooting (which has improved), and the Heat need to improve over the summer, and they’ll be set. As for Bird, he’s a humble great who doesn’t mind being compared to today’s players. That makes him an enjoyable Hall of Famer, not an unlikable curmudgeon the way so many other older players become.
Chest bump to Eye on Basketball for the tip and here’s audio of the clip if you want to hear it.