Gather 'round, young NBA players and fans. LeBron James has a hoops history lesson for you.
The 32-year-old three-time NBA champion and four-time league MVP took a break from making history to discuss it on Thursday night in Cleveland. In a professorial shoutout, James broke down the multi-faceted dominance of Larry Bird’s game after tying the Boston Celtics’ legend for sixth place on the all-time triple-doubles list at 59.
He's one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Kid from French Lick. Boston. And one of the few guys that ever be in a 3-point contest and shoot with a warm-up shirt on. And, but just his like, he played until he couldn't play no more. Obviously, we know that. He just played until he literally couldn't play the game no more. He gave everything he had. And for young guys that don't know him, they think of Larry Bird as a jump shooter. But he was so much more than that. He was a passer. He averaged double-digit rebounds. He defended. He took charges.
James also gave credit to the other dynamic small forwards he admired growing up: Scottie Pippen, Julius Erving, and George Gervin.
And it's just straight up complete basketball player and me as a small forward, Scottie, Bird, Doc, George Gervin, the guys I kind of looked up to being a small forward. And they kind of set the precedent of what it is to go out there as a professional and give it all. So, I've always been a fan of Larry Bird and if I linked with any of the greats, especially like him, it's pretty cool.
LeBron tied Larry Bird for 6th on the all-time triple-doubles list on Thursday. He's 19 away from tying Wilt Chamberlain for 5th. pic.twitter.com/d9IiTeeniH— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 15, 2017
As noted by James, Bird’s career was halted by injuries. He only played 186 regular-season games over his final four NBA campaigns before retiring at age 35 in 1992.