Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“But it wouldn’t help in the area Larry was superior in — basketball IQ. They prep you better to have a longer career, but it won’t make you tougher, that’s for sure. Lifting weights makes you better at lifting weights. Larry played with a mental and physical toughness that set him apart.”
Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between. It’s silly to argue across generations anyway. The fact is Larry Bird showed up to work and maximized every ounce of talent he could muster, and the finished product was one of the most impressive careers the sport’s ever seen. It’s hard to ask for more than that.
“He wasn’t able to win every game, every championship, like Bill Russell. He wasn’t able to play as much as he wanted to play, as much as we wanted him to play, but he gave everything he had,” said Walton. “He played until he could no longer move. He played until his body no longer functioned, and he’s paying the price to this day. But you never hear a complaint out of him.”
Ben Rohrbach with just an outstanding article over at Yahoo Sports, gathering comments about Bird from McHale, Carlisle and Walton on the 25th anniversary of his retirement.
Naturally, because we’re all morons, the subject of whether Bird could compete today is discussed. It always comes up.
McHale more or less nails it.
Bird would be fine because his edge wasn’t his height, it wasn’t his strength, it wasn’t his foot speed. His edge was his edge. Bird knew the game, and he had as much of a competitive streak as anyone who’s ever played it.
And those kind of guys will always be able to find their way in the league.
Think about Paul Pierce and that elbow jumper of his.
You put peak LeBron on past his peak Pierce (say 2010-2012), and Pierce is going to get that shot. Pierce is nowhere near the athlete that LeBron is, but Pierce is going to get his shot, even though LeBron is on him, even though LeBron knows that’s exactly the shot he wants; Pierce is going to get his shot, not because of his athletic ability, but because he knows the game.
Bird had that–and then some.
“Larry would be fine,” added Walton. “Larry would be fine anywhere, anytime, against anybody.”
Page 2: February 11, 2018 is Paul Pierce Night
The retirement ceremony comes after a matinee game against the Cavs, which seems appropriate.
Who knows what the Cavs will look like by the time February rolls around, but one thing seems fairly certain: The Celtics are back in LeBron’s way again, just like they were ten years ago.
And Pierce? He’s no Larry Joe Bird, but if you liked Bird it was pretty hard not to like Pierce. Bird was a better all around player than Pierce–he had better court vision and was a much better passer. But they both had that mindset that they were going to win, and if they had to win by scrapping and fighting, that’s what they’d do, but if they could win with style, well, even better. And when they did both–as Pierce did in that epic game 7 duel with LeBron in 2008–you knew you’d seen something.
The rest of the links
Boston Herald: Paul Pierce’s number 34 to be retired by Boston Celtics
MassLive: Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics star, named ‘Most Clutch’ in 2016-17 by NBPA awards | Boston Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number on Feb. 11 against Cavaliers | Jordan Mickey, former Boston Celtics forward, close to deal with Miami Heat (report)