“In three days I understood that this league was nothing and that I was going to dominate it”

NBA / Elite Sport TV (DR)

Announcing that we are going to slaughter the competition is one thing, assuming these words on the floors is another. A legend of the league had, however, a very precise idea of ​​his level, after his draft… and enough to say that he joined the words to the deeds.

The least we can say is that Larry Bird was quick to impress the gallery. Beginning in his rookie season, in 1979-80, the Celtics winger posted an average of 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists, an incredible figure for a rookie player. As expected, it was he who ended up with the ROY in his hands, the first trophy in a long list for which he will become, among other things, triple champion and MVP of the regular season.

In addition to his crazy qualities as a basketball player, the Hall of Fame member also stood out for his talent as a charlatan, capable of getting into anyone’s head. Shortly after his arrival in the league, the boy had sent a very clear message to his teammates. In short, he saw himself as much stronger than the competition, and would have realized it after a few days at the most:

Larry Bird’s wild statement in his NBA debut

Once I left college, I went into the pros and there were questions like, “How is he going to do?” He won’t be able to put up his jump shots in the pros, or he won’t be fast enough, or he won’t be able to rebound. And I think it probably took me 3 days after rookie camp to realize this league was nothing. I could play in this league and I would dominate this league.

It’s a fact, Larry Legend’s athletic qualities raised a lot of questions when he came to the NBA. Apart from the size of him, the n ° 33 had absolutely nothing to master on a physical level, which seriously worried the observers. Here a parallel can be drawn with the discussions around Luka Doncićalmost 40 years later. In both cases, the doubts were quickly dispelled, especially in the case of Bird.

Indeed, the boss of the Bean Town squad chained the big games since his debut, even putting up more than 20 points and 10 rebounds on average in each of his first six seasons. Because what he didn’t have in physics, the guy made up for in intelligence and, more generally, a virtually unmatched basketball IQ on the courts. Without a back that ruined the end of his career, we might have been entitled to even more magic from him.

Larry Bird never lacked confidence, even when he was just starting out in the NBA. However, he is also living proof that being a sub-athlete is not a deal breaker, as long as you can make up for it in other compartments.

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