Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan was in complete awe of Larry Bird and his incredible 3-point shooting during the 1988 NBA All-Star
Larry Bird was one of the most dominant players in the NBA during the 80s. The Celtics legend was a 3x NBA champion and 2x Finals MVP. Unfortunately, Bird’s prime couldn’t last long due to a back injury, prompting him to retire in 1992.
As Bird’s reign was coming to an end, there was a new sheriff in town by the name of Michael Jordan, who was at the pinnacle of his career when Bird hung up his boots. The two legends shared immense respect for each other, which was on display during the 1988 All-Star weekend in Chicago.
Bird was looking to 3-peat in the three-point shooting contest while MJ was defending his Slam Dunk championship. The 1988 All-Star weekend was a legendary one taking place in Chicago when his Airness was hitting the pinnacle of his career.
The 3-point contest would go down till the wire, with Bird emerging as the winner. Jordan, who was a spectator, couldn’t help but marvel at Bird’s sniper-like abilities.
Michael Jordan felt sorry for Larry Bird’s opponents during the 1988 All-Star 3-point contest.
It would not be wrong to say that Larry Bird was one of the first few players to popularize the 3-point shooting. During the time shooting beyond the arc was not considered a necessary tool of a players’ skill-set.
The contest would make its All-Star debut in 1986, with Bird winning it. The 12x All-Star would repeat the following year as well. Thus the 1988 All-Star was a chance for Bird to create history by 3-peating.
Bird would face Dale Ellis in the final round of the contest. Ellis would have the lead, with Bird having two racks left to shoot. The Celtics superstar had to make 9-points with only 10 balls left to shoot. Bird would hit the next consecutive 5 shots making the deficit to 3-points, with 3 balls remaining to shoot.
The 3x MVP would sink his final shot in an iconic way, turning around while the ball was in the air and lifting one finger up to say, it’s over. Jordan, who watching the contest was awestruck by Bird’s marksmanship.
“He didn’t take off his top yet. I’d hate to see when he takes off his top. I tell you, it’s hard to shoot after Bird just made 23.”
Though MJ singing high praises for his opponents was extremely rare, he couldn’t help but take notice of Bird’s ability to make long-range shots.
Jordan would win the Dunk Contest for the consecutive second year and was the All-Star MVP, scoring 40-points. Though the two legends were at complete opposite ends of their journeys, the 1988 All-Star proved to be a great exhibition of their talents.