Hall of Famer Larry Bird couldn’t have imagined the NBA growing the way it has when he was a player, and gives props to the stars of today.
Larry Legend says current players are as good as they were during his own era—often considered the best of all time.M
Bird cautions, however, that comparing eras is oftentimes a fruitless exercise.
Q: What’s changed in this league, obviously, is the financial and economic impact of it all. When you guys talk to each other, guys who played 20, 30 years ago, are you as stunned as fans at all the money that has come into the game? […] A: “I’d be lying if I told you I thought it would get to this point. I never thought that. I’m happy it has. That means the league’s doing well, the owners are doing well, the players are doing well. That’s what it was all about. But you got to remember, when I came into the league, the guys before me were bitchin’ about how much money I made. So it just goes down the line, so that’s how it works.”
Q: I saw you said recently in a New Yorker article, “My era, you always think that’s the greatest era, but I’m not so sure anymore.” Why do you believe that now? […] A: “Because everybody that plays, no matter if it was ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, they think their era’s the best. Well, prove it to me. Like I said earlier, I think we have more stars than they do now. On every team, they had at least one, maybe two. I’m talking about Dominique Wilkins — you just go down the line. But in saying that, I don’t think our era’s any better than anyone else’s, when it comes right down to it.”
Q: Do you think there are better all-around players before the current era? […] A: “I don’t know. There’s some guys I really like to watch play. Draymond Green is fun to watch. All of those [Michigan] State guys are because they defend, and they play, they play together — that’s how I like the game to be played. Move the ball, cut, pass; if you do the right things, you’ll get it right back. I don’t know, I hate to compare eras. It’s been so long since I played, but I liked to play the total game. Magic liked to play the total game. Some guys are just scorers. Some guys just defend and rebound. But the guys that are playing now are just as good as what we were when we played.”