NBA men’s basketball player Larry Bird is considered one of the greatest basketball players in history for his impressive skills. But what exactly was his role?
Larry Bird Played Small Forward and Power Forward during his time in the NBA between 1979-1993. This required versatility, agility, and strong attack and defense skills combined with excellent shooting. Towering at 6 feet 9 inches, Bird has won numerous awards for his time in the NBA.
Learn more below about exactly what this position entails, and Bird’s success in basketball.
Small Forward And Power Forward
There are five positions in basketball, with small forward being commonly known as “three”.
The small forward, or SF, is generally the shorter player of the two forwards, although this is not the case with Bird.
They are considered the most versatile player, as they must be able to attack, defend and score. This player must have agility, strength and quickness.
A favorable skill of the small forward is accurate “foul shooting”, i.e. shooting unguarded baskets from the foul line.
As the player is interchangeable and must adopt various roles, they must be good at everything.
In the NBA, small forwards are generally between 6 feet 3.5 inches to 6 feet 8.25 inches tall. Larry Bird stands at approximately 6 feet 9 inches.
The power forward (PF) is generally referred to as “four”, and their main role is the offense.
They are generally the team’s best scorer, both in speed and reliability, as their proximity to the goal makes them ideal for both farther and closer ranges of scoring.
The power forward must also guard players of the opposite team who are close to, or who approach their basket.
One skill expected of the power forward is rebounding, which is retrieving the ball after a missed basket.
Power forwards are generally between 6 feet 8 inches and 6 feet 10, which is why Larry Bird works perfectly as both the PF and SF.
Some taller power forwards also play center. The center is responsible for both strong shooting and defending their own goal.
Larry’s Success as an NBA forward Player
Larry is considered one of the strongest players in NBA history.
He was raised by his army father Joseph Bird and mother Georgia Bird in French Lick, a town in Orange County, United States.
This is how his nickname “The Hick from French Lick” originated.
Larry was also awarded a scholarship to play basketball at Indiana State, which he accepted.
He studied there shortly before returning to Northwood University closer to his home.
After this, he was enrolled by the Boston Celtics for the NBA in 1978 as the sixth pick, where he began to make a name for himself.
He played 13 seasons interchangeably between the small forward and power forward for the Celtics.
During his time playing for them, he won the NBA championship three times, and was awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player three years in a row from 1984-1986.
The basketball player eventually became a 12-time NBA All-Star.
In 1986, he even played a game scoring 10 of his 21 goals left-handed.
His United States Men’s Olympic team “The Dream Team” also won a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics.
Larry retired the same year and went on to coach basketball. During this time, he was named NBA Coach of the Year for the 1997 season, passing down his skills as SF and PF to his students.