Boston Celtics: Compiling an all-time starting 5

Boston Celtics mascot (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics mascot (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /
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Larry Bird, small forward

I turned this one over in my mind a few times, especially considering the greatness that is Paul Pierce.  But at the end of the day, I had to give it to Larry Legend. He wasn’t the flashiest player to play but he was efficient with the talent he had and raised the level of play of the teammates he was surrounded with.

Journalist and broadcaster Peter Vecsey once said:

"“Any living legend can take over a game in the last few minutes. Only Bird can take it over in the first few minutes.”"

In his thirteen NBA seasons, all with the Celtics, Bird was selected to 12 NBA All-Star teams. He won three NBA championships (in 1981, 1984, and 1986) and won two NBA Finals MVP Awards. He won three consecutive regular-season MVP awards.

Bird scored 24.3 points per game in his career on a near 50 percent field goal percentage, an 89 percent free throw percentage, and a 37.6 percentage on 3-point shots. The man known as “The Hick From French Lick” had an average of 10 rebounds per game for his career and 6.3 assists.

He was the first player in NBA history to shoot 50 percent or better on field goals, 40 percent on 3-pointers, and 90 percent on free-throws in a single NBA season accomplishing that statistical anomaly twice. Bird won NBA 3-point-shooting contests in three consecutive years (1986-88).

One more fun fact: As of 2020, Bird is the only person in NBA history to be named Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, NBA Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year.