Larry Bird: The Most Underrated Season of his Career
When it comes to Larry Bird, every avid NBA fan under the sun knows of him. We all know that he is one of the greatest players in NBA history. Also, he is one of the best small forwards of all time. Not to mention, he is arguably the greatest Boston Celtics player in the franchise’s history. He was also a major savage when it comes to trash-talking. However, despite all of the accolades, which ranged from being a 12-time All-Star to a two-time Finals MVP, and fame that came with being an NBA legend who won multiple titles and was Magic Johnson‘s rival, Bird also possesses an overlooked season on his resume. Like we did with Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony in recent articles, we will be discussing Larry Bird’s most underrated season of his illustrious career in this piece.
Larry Bird: His Most Underrated Season
Larry Bird: His 1989-90 Campaign
This particular season had a relatively disappointing end for the Boston Celtics. Sure, they made the postseason, but they were knocked out in five games by the New York Knicks. While the Celtics were a playoff team that season, this end result was one that was not accustomed to by the fans of Boston. Especially after a decade which saw the team win three titles in the 80s.
The fact that an aging Larry Bird was still able to lead the team after being sidelined by injury the year before and be productive in the 1989-90 season is quite remarkable. Keep in mind, Bird would retire from the league just two seasons later, though we are talking about a man who made the All-NBA Team 10 times along with being an All-Star Game MVP, three-time All-Defensive Team member, and a former Rookie of the Year. So, while the season did not quite end well for the team, just how good was Larry Bird at the tail end of his career? All you have to do is look at the 1989 season’s numbers to get an idea of Bird’s greatness.
Larry Legend’s Numbers in 1989-90
Despite being at the tail end of his career, Bird’s numbers were still insane. He averaged 24.3 points per game, 7.5 assists per game, and grabbed 9.5 rebounds per game. Not to mention, he hit the mark on 93 percent of his free throws, his career-high in this category. Larry Bird would also finish the season tallying a field goal percentage of 47.3 percent. While some of these numbers were not the best of his career, the three-time MVP was still was a force.
During the 1989 season, Bird possessed an offensive rating of 111 to go with a defensive rating of 105. On top of this, he would finish out the year with a total rebounding percentage of 13.4 percent. Larry Bird would even tally an offensive win share total of 5.3. This would go well with his defensive win share total of 4.1. It is crazy that this season of Bird’s legendary career is as overlooked as it is today. With all of this in mind, the 1989-90 campaign is by far the most underrated season of the three-time NBA champion’s career.