Larry Bird was considered the world’s best player back in 1984. But he knew that Michael Jordan would be his successor even then.
Jordan was drafted by the Bulls with the #3 overall pick in 1984. He’d already won the NCAA tournament as a fresher and the Olympic Gold medal as a junior.
MJ was also a unanimous winner of the National College Player of the Year awards in his final year at the UNC. The clean sweep he made of all the awards was merely a sign of things to come in the NBA.
Jordan was also a member of those Olympics teams which beat teams of NBA All-Stars during prep for Los Angeles 1984. These scrimmages pitted Magic Johnson and Larry Bird against the college athletes, among other All-NBA players of the time.
It was clear that Jordan would be a star in the NBA for those that were following. What they didn’t know, however, was that he would be the GOAT for billions across the globe. Perhaps Larry Legend did, though.
Larry Bird predicted that a rookie Michael Jordan would become the GOAT
Bird and his Celtics met the Jordan Bulls for the first time in November 1984. The game ended 125-104 in favor of the reigning NBA champions, but Michael showed out. The Jumpman had 27 points and was a nuisance to Dennis Johnson for the whole night.
Dan Shaughnessy, a beat writer for the Celtics at the time, recently revealed what Larry Bird said to him after this game:
“Jordan came into the league in ’85, and the first night Larry played against him — I knew he (Jordan) was good — but Larry said, he said to me, he said, ‘That guy is gonna be the greatest player ever, you watch.”
“I didn’t see it. He (Bird) saw it, he was out there on the floor. I didn’t think it was that remarkable, he (Jordan) was a good rookie. And he (Bird) said after the game, he just said, ‘You watch.’ And I said, ‘You’re just blowing smoke’ — which he never did. But he knew. First night.”