Pete Maravich Said Larry Bird Is The Best NBA Player

  • 9.05.2023 02:41:01

Pete Maravich is one of the greatest scorers in NBA history, having lit up the basketball world during his days with the Atlanta Hawks and the New Orleans Jazz.

It is often forgotten though, that Maravich finished his career with the Boston Celtics in 1980, so he got to play alongside Larry Bird for a little bit. Maravich was impressed by what he saw and years later in 1987, just a year before his tragic passing, he stated Bird is just the best there is in the league.

"I think he is the best, you know," Maravich said. "Larry is not really the best rebounder in the NBA; he is not really the best passer, I don't think, he's not the best dribbler, he's not the best shooter, he's not the best scorer. He's just the very best.

While one can certainly argue that Bird could be regarded as the best shooter of that time, he wasn't the best at anything else. He did everything at such a high level, though, that it led to him being regarded as one of the greats.

Bird finished his career with averages of 24.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, and 1.7 SPG. He won three NBA titles and two Finals MVPs, and is the last player to have won three successive MVPs, having done so from 1984 to 1986. One couldn't really accuse Maravich of being biased, as Bird was just that good back then. 

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Some have questioned how Bird would fare in today's NBA but the fact of the matter is, he would still dominate, as would Maravich. He was truly ahead of his time, a flamboyant scorer who was a wizard with the ball in his hands. Maravich still holds the NCAA record at 44.2 PPG for his college career and he did it without the three-point shot.

Had the line existed back then, he would have averaged 13 threes a game and would have had a college career average of 57.0 PPG. He was an incredible shooter and with today's spacing and rules, one wonders what insane numbers he would have put up.

Even without it, he led the league in scoring once at 31.1 PPG in the 1976-77 season and finished his career with averages of 24.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.4 APG, and 1.4 SPG. The three-point line was finally introduced in his last season in the NBA and he went 10-15 from beyond the arc. Stephen Curry has often been compared with Maravich and he could have been a worldwide sensation like Curry if he played today.

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