Michael Jordan and Larry Bird are two of the most iconic and successful basketball players in the history of the sport. Their careers overlapped for a number of years and they faced off against each other in some of the most memorable moments in NBA history. Despite being fierce competitors on the court, the two players had a deep respect for each other and their relationship went beyond just being rivals.
One of the most well-known moments in the Jordan-Bird rivalry was the 1992 Olympic Games, where they led the US Men’s Basketball team to a gold medal. The team, known as the “Dream Team,” featured some of the best players in the world and was considered a dominant force. Jordan and Bird were two of the leaders of the team and their teamwork and leadership skills were instrumental in the team’s success.
Off the court, Jordan and Bird had a close friendship and often spent time together away from the game. In fact, Bird has said that Jordan was one of his closest friends in the league. They would often play golf together and hang out, despite the fact that they were fierce competitors on the court.
In addition to their friendship, Jordan and Bird also had a deep mutual respect for each other’s talents and accomplishments. Jordan has said that Bird was one of the toughest opponents he ever faced, and Bird has praised Jordan’s work ethic and competitive drive.
Despite the fact that they were rivals on the court, Jordan and Bird’s relationship was characterized by mutual respect and friendship. They pushed each other to be better players and their competitiveness helped to elevate the game of basketball to new heights. Their rivalry will always be remembered as one of the greatest in the history of the sport and their friendship is a testament to the respect and admiration they had for each other.
Their respect for each other even led to Jordan saying that Larry Bird is the greatest small forward in NBA history, and that not even LeBron James could be compared to Bird.
Per The Sportsrush:
“Larry was a debate. He still is. People ask me all the time who my all-time five top players are, and when I start saying Larry, they interrupt me. They say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. He can’t play with LeBron James!’ I tell them, ‘You guys don’t get it. Larry is far better than any small forward who played the game, and to be honest, I’m still not sure if he is a small forward or a power forward.”