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Who was the Greatest: Michael Jordan or Larry Bird?

Publish Date: 01/24/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Which basketball star is the greatest of all time: Michael Jordan or Larry Bird?

I can feel your disdain at someone even suggesting such a question. After all, how could anyone compete against His Airness, who boasts six titles, five MVP awards and 14 All-Star selections? Will I have someone who can, his name?

Larry Legend can be compared because when discussing one player’s abilities, accolades must be left out of consideration. Championship rings cannot be counted because team sports require multiple contributors; therefore, it would not be fair to compare role players who contributed to winning the titles these two won. MVP and All-Star selections are decided by voting, thus removing objectivity from these selections.

So, to determine who was truly the greatest basketball player ever, statistics provide our only means of evaluation. I know what your thinking? It has to be Jordan, right? Lets take a closer look.

Big men might seem dominant, but they lack an outside game that makes an impactful statement about them. Clutch shooters have won many games for their teams despite average performances, while other players gain attention simply as scorers without possessing an all-around skill set.

Here comes the statement that will cause many of you to respond using terms such as idiot, moran, and fanboy in their comments.

Video: Larry Bird's Most SAVAGE Moments

Larry Bird’s Most SAVAGE Moments

Before getting heated up over this argument, please hear me out: Bird’s career stats don’t compare favorably with Jordan in terms of points per game average, yet his all-around performance was superior. Remember, this article is about who was the greatest ever player – not who won more games or scored clutch baskets.

Bird makes up for his lack of scoring by excelling elsewhere; their career field-goal percentages are tied, while Bitd has the advantage in both three-point and free-throw percentages. But surely Michael Jordan was superior offensively?

Larry averaged a double-double throughout his career, adding ten rebounds per game to his 24 points for a double-double average over his playing career. Jordan averaged six assists. People may point to their positions played as reasons. Still, when discussing who the best player is in basketball terms, my answer lies with anyone making an impactful contribution as much as possible to any given game. Bird had more assists than Jordan, proving this point further since basketball is a team sport.

Jordan remains one of the most iconic athletes today, thanks to brilliant marketing strategies and shoes that cause riots every time they are released. But none of this would have been possible without Bird and Magic Johnson in the 80s; before their entrance into the league, Finals games were broadcast tape-delayed late at night; now they receive higher-than-ever ratings, will maybe not know, but you know what I mean.

I recognize he was often divisive; coming from a small town in Indiana, he wasn’t exactly a marketer’s dream material, but when looking at the statistics, it’s hard to say for certain who was the greatest ever. Bird’s multifaceted game likely placed him a close second, while Magic won the MVP awards when Bird didn’t. Jordan didn’t have another threat that presented such stiff competition for awards as Bird did.

And if accolades are critical to you, let me use three specific awards as evidence that Bird has an incomparably higher basketball IQ than anyone who has ever lived: He was the only individual ever honored with NBA MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year awards; Jordan attempted becoming an executive but only succeeded in landing Kwame Brown top pick and having one of his worst seasons ever in NBA history. Advantage Larry.

Now, I know that no matter what I say, most people are closed-minded in this debate. I also realize that Jordan was a better defender than Bird, but Bird was a good defender.

I also know that guys like Russell, Kob, Wilt, and yes, even LeBron have an argument here, but to me, Larry Bird was the greatest basketball player of all time.

If you watch both player’s highlight films, you should notice that over half of Bird’s highlights are him making passes to get his teammates points, while most of the Jordan Highlight films are of him dunking or scoring on his own.

If you want to say Jordan is greater, I understand that, but watch some games, complete games they are all over YouTube, and draw your conclusion on who was the greatest. If you do it with an open mind, you will realize it’s not a dumb question.

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