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Who knew?! PS - If you have an image of Pistol Pete in your mind, and want it preserved, then don't watch this video. I've heard horror stories of Willie Mays playing for the New York Mets, and I suspect they aren't that much different than this. "Remembering The Sad And Too-Short Celtic Stint Of Pete Maravich" by Professor Parquet on celticsblog.com --- [The following posts have been split into separate threads: Pete Maravich (daveo) Nate Archibald (Barbara)]
Well, now we do. (How is Larry Bird only four years younger than Bill Walton?!) I don't have much to say right now, but I will include this video which is extraordinary:
Bird or Magic--Who Was Better Bird or Magic. Its the epic debate. Two well matched, multi talented team oriented players who dominated the decade of the 80's in the NBA. They both entered the league in the 79-80 season and played through the decade. Both careers were cut short; Bird by back injuries, Magic by contracting HIV. Their careers were remarkably similar both leading teams to incredible regular season dominating records and a number of championships. During the 1980's the Lakers made it to the NBA finals 8 times and won 5 championships. The Celtics made it to the finals 5 times and won 3 championships. The Celtics played in the East and faced tremendously tougher competition, The 76ers being the equal or better than either the Lakers and Celts during the first 4 years, with 3 finals visits, and 1 championship. The Milwaukee Bucks had 7 seasons in a row of 50 or more wins, Atlanta had at least 5 seasons of over 50 wins, and the Detroit Pistons became the dominant team in the league, going to the championship in the 87-88 and 88-89 season and winning it in 89. Detroit won 54 and 63 regular season games those two seasons. The Celtics played tougher competition during the decade but the Lakers won the big ones, the championships when it counted....and when the Celts and Lakers faced off in the NBA championships the Lakers took 2 of 3. The teams were packed with other stars besides Bird and Magic. Don mentions "Big Game" James Worthy....but jeez....what about Kareem??? All time great Kareem Abdul Jabbar played the last 10 years of his all-time career with Magic Johnson, from age 32 to 41. He averaged over 20 pts/game for the first 7 of those years He was first team all NBA 4 of those years and 2nd team 3 times. Magic was running with a STUD et al. In Bird's first year he helped the team to 61 regular season wins...a turnabout of 32 games from the previous season. Bird was the Stud in 79-80. But in later years the Celtics added Robert Parish, Kevin McHale (probably the decades #1 power foward and an all time great) and Dennis Johnson, a 9 time all NBA defensive choice (6 times first team) and twice made all NBA. During Johnson's 7 years with the Celtics he was the primary point guard. Between Parish, Mchale, and Johnson the Celts were loaded...as were the Lakers. What about attributes? Don doesn't highlight Bird's rebounding skills. Cripes, the man is one of the NBA's best defensive rebounder EVER. To get a feel for this; Larry Bird currently is ranked 31st for career points at a little under 22,000 pts. He is well known as one of the NBA's best scorers, year in year out. But his total ranking is diminished because his career was shortened due to injuries. His all time NBA defensive Rebound ranking is 22nd with 7217. He was a monster on the defensive boards and he did it most of the time with 2 other excellent rebounders, Parish plus Mchale (and others). Bird was great at sweeping the defensive boards and keeping the opposition from regaining the ball. His defensive rebounding per game is among the highest recorded (they didn't account for this stat in the "old days" so Wilt, Russell, et al are not part of those stats). Magic was also a great if not formidable rebounder. He averaged 7.2 rebounds as a guard in regular season and 7.7 in the playoffs. Magic averaged over 10 rebounds/game in his first 3 years, playing as a shooting guard/ 2ndary ball handler 2ndary rebounder. Neither of them had the primary function as rebounder. But both were absolutely significant in that regard. Bird was a scorer and Magic was a passer. Both were excellent in the other categories, supporting other passers or scorers. Neither had to lead in the alternative category, but did need to provide critical support....and they did. Bird and Magic were utter stars that both turned their teams into championship contenders, annually during the decade. Pre the 79-80 season the Lakers had Kareem for several years and couldn't win a championship. Pre that season the Celtics were dreadful. When Bird was injured in 88-89 the Celtics went from championship caliber to so so. After Magic retired (for the first time)...the Lakers were no where's near a championship caliber team. Bird, btw: was an exquisite passer, probably the best at "touch passes" Here is a video with some of his "best" Meanwhile Magic, with his flash, and speed, and passing, and scoring and rebounding, was after all is said and done, often a winner: Here, a video of some of his best and most crucial plays: Among those plays is the Magic Johnson "baby hook" that won the 4th game of the 87 season NBA finals described here Clutch. A lotta "tall guys" tried to block that shot. Now who was better??? Well if you search on "best players in NBA history" one will find many lists from many sources. While Michael Jordan is usually described as "best" I'm interested in the relative rankings of Bird and Magic; who is ranked higher by which sources? Scan through them, one will find that Magic usually outranks Bird. A consensus from those that watch too much NBA basketball. There is one "expert" whose opinion on this topic interested me: Bill Simmons, the author of the Book of Basketball and who spent way too much time evaluating too many NBA players for his epic book. Simmons, who is from Boston, who loves the Celtics, who grew up watching the 80's Celts in person, and has the most heartfelt mancrush on Larry Bird, actually ranks Magic higher. Whoa...that alone might get him banned from Boston. My opinion? I don't have one. I was lucky to have packages of tickets to Bullets games during the 80's and saw both of them play in person along with so many other stars. They were magnificent. If you blindfolded me spun me around, mixed them up and I had to choose one of them as a 2nd pick, (after Jordan), I'd be happy as can be with either one. They would both end up leading a team of stars against one another to many victories.