Robert Parish provides an explanation of why Larry Bird was unable to act.

Robert Parish provides an explanation of why Larry Bird was unable to act.

In the NBA, Michael Jordan is well-known for his demanding presence and leadership style. While some respect his unrivaled competitive spirit, others don’t quite get that MJ went beyond the bounds of good taste when he had to correct his teammates. NBA legend Robert Parish thought that was unacceptable because, in his lengthy career, he had never seen that from anyone else, even from playing with the greatest player of all time, Larry Bird.

In the NBA community, Robert Parish’s tale of defying Michael Jordan during his final season is well-known, as it was likely the only occasion on which MJ ever retaliated against an opponent. Jordan could put the other players to the test, but it was a bad idea for Michael to mess with a 9-time All-Star and 4-time champion who was in his 40s.

We all witnessed how Jordan didn’t hesitate to verbally abuse and target anyone in the documentary The Last Dance, including Scott Burrell, Ron Harper, Toni Kuko─Ź, Horace Grant, and other role players. Pippen and Rodman were the only guys that MJ respected, but Parish joined that exclusive club that day despite playing a relatively quiet season in Chicago.

However, Parish’s career is not remembered for that particular year. “The Chief” built a dynasty with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale during his 14 seasons with the Celtics. In fact, it was this team that prevented Michael Jordan and the Bulls from winning the championship before 1991. Of course, next to the “Bad Boys” of the Detroit Pistons.

Although Larry Bird was the team’s leader, he approached his role as the voice in the locker room very differently than Michael did. Even though Larry was one of the greatest players in history, he never yelled in the face of his teammates; instead, he led by example and only engaged in trash talk with opponents. Even though it was completely different from MJ, it nevertheless led to multiple championships.

It’s safe to say that playing in that environment makes things easier and more laid back for the other players. For this reason, Parish said he appreciated Bird’s leadership style even more. Furthermore, Bird couldn’t have treated his teammates the same way that Jordan did, even if he had wanted to, because they wouldn’t have given up so easily.

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