When Larry Bird missed a game-winning shot, he showed Pat Riley how great he was.

When Larry Bird missed a game-winning shot, he showed Pat Riley how great he was.

Although there are a few moments that most basketball fans will likely cite to support Larry Bird’s superstar status, no one can dispute his greatness. His assured performances in the Three-Point Contest are still remembered by some; winning is one thing, but talking a big game and delivering on it is quite another. Some will mention his MVP honors or NBA titles. However, what if you miss your shot?

It may surprise you to learn that Pat Riley recognized Larry Legend as unique in this way.

In the 1987 NBA Finals, Bird had a chance to win the game, but he missed the jumper, according to the legendary coach. A weaker player might have been destroyed by that sequence, but the Boston forward was unbroken. Rather, he shot Riley a look that spoke a thousand words without words.

Any career will have highs and lows throughout its duration. Despite all of his NBA achievements, Larry Bird was accustomed to this reality.

Consider the fourth game of the NBA Finals in 1987. With a few seconds remaining, Magic Johnson scored a hook shot over Robert Parish and Kevin McHale to give the Lakers the lead. Then, Bird had a chance to win the competition, but his candid glance was misdirected.

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