7 reasons why Rodman's "If Larry Bird played in this era I think he'd be in Europe" take is wrong

Well here it is. The dumbest thing I've heard this millennium.

Dennis Rodman was very good basketball player for the Pistons and Bulls championship teams. I mean the Bulls would have won their three last titles if they kept Horace Grant, and Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, and Bill Laimbeer were all more integral to the Pistons titles, but I digress. Rodman was for sure a solid player in th 80's/90's NBA era. In today's game he'd have to be a way undersized center, because you simply can't not shoot and be a forward, but he'd have a role, if not as prominent.

But you know who would not only adapt well to the modern NBA era, but would be even better? One Larry Joe Bird and here are 5 reasons why:

1. A career 38% percent 3-point shooter, Larry Bird would have shot much higher if he came around today. He grew up in era of no 3-point shot. Even once he got to the NBA, which coincided with the NBA implementing the 3-point shot from the ABA, in which Bob Ryan recently said was supposed to be a gimmick shot, NBA teams rarely used the shot and players barely practice it.

If Bird grew up in Steph Curry's era, he'd have practiced 3's way more as a child, through high school and college, and in the NBA. Even if Bird's 3-point percentage only increased 5 percentage points from all the extra practice and shooting, he'd be on par with Curry's 43%. And Curry is considered the greatest shooter all-time by many.

Curry attempts about 10 more 3-point shots a game than Bird did. That's an 10 more points a game, Bird could have had. Considering Bird's career high was 30 points per game during the 1987-88 season when he was 31, so just out of his prime, Bird easily could have been a 30 point scorer for his career.

2. Bird played when teams didn't have their own planes, had only two assistant coaches and nothing like the support staff they have now. In the modern era with all the perks, advanced sports medicine, equipment, facilities, nutritionists, and assistance, Bird would have been in better shape and his skills more advanced.

If nothing else, Bird would have received better treatment for his injuries, especially his back.


Star players in Bird's era were lucky to make $1 million a year. And they went to college, so they had less earning potential. Yes, $1 million was still a ton in the 1980's but nowhere near the $60 million a year Bird would make in today's game. I mention this because prior to Bird and Magic Johnson popularizing the game of basketball which led to massive TV contracts, many players had actually had offseason job in the league's prior decades.

Bird was still a cheap and stubborn man deciding to repave his driveway, which was the original cause of his back ailment, but one could understand at least how back then the culture was different. Star players weren't like corporations with tons of assistants.


Bird was a star post player in college who played the 3 and 4 in the NBA. In today's game he could actually get a lot of minutes as a stretch 5. You don't have the Goliath’s down low to defend and battle with and even then Bird held his own plus defensively and on the boards.

Today the rebound has become an inflated stat as teams don't crash the boards. Anyone who hustles can get a rebound. Few in the game's history ever hustled more than Larry Bird. He averaged 10 rebounds a game in his career playing the vast majority of it at the 3. He'd average more today for sure.

You literally see a glimpse of what Bird's game would look like in today's NBA in Nikola Jokic. A big man with elite passing and rebounding, who can also shoot. Bird was a better shooter and defender though.

Everyone wanted to draft their own Draymond Green to copy the Warriors success when started winning. Again, Bird would be like Draymond Green on steroids.


Players are softer and ore sensitive today, partly because of rule changes, but as much due to society and social media. You know who didn't care about all the extra shite? Larry Bird. After the season was done, it was back to "The only place I'd rather be," French Lick, Indiana.

I can't see Bird on social media or caring what anyone said on there or the blowhard shows on tv, radio, online, etc. Jokic doesn't care, and I believe Bird would care even less.

So the extras that a lot of players deal with wouldn't be a part of Bird's life and he could spend even more time on his game. Additionally, many players today would crumble due to Bird's trash talking.


You were allowed to more or less beat up other team's star players in the 80's and 90's. Bird took a lot of hits on his moves during his time and many of the fouls that he drew would have been flagrant fouls today. Bird would have likely lasted longer in today's era taking much less of a beating (plus getting a ton of his points with no physical duress from beyond the 3-point line).

In his age 34 season, Bird played only 60 games. Prior to that, the least amount of games he played in a season was 74 once. Bird averaged over 80 games played a season in his 20's. There were no maintenance games off. If you were hurt, but you could still play, you played. Once again his averages would be higher in today's game as he'd be fresher.


The game has transitioned from the iso era of Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant to a game rich in ball movement. Having Bird as one of your bigs would give you an elite passing/ ball movement team. Bird would thrive in a game with all the unselfish ball movement of the Warriors championship teams or the most recent Nuggets.

Honesty I could come up with more than seven reasons, but Rodman even contradicted himself right after his "If Larry Bird played in this era I think he'd be in Europe," asinine statement. Rodman goes on to say how Bird was great and all, but he actually thinks Jokic is better. Wait, so you are saying the player who was a Kendrick Perkins take away from being the reigning back-to-back-to-back NBA MVP and who just won Finals' MVP and a championship can be compared to Bird and you take Jokic, but Bird couldn't even be a 12th man in today's NBA?

The math doesn't add up Dennis. Of course Rodman is famous for saying back in the 1980's after another loss to the Celtics that if Bird was Black he'd be just another player, so he's not new to being way off when it comes to Larry Legend.

Here's the thing, I don't like when former players dismiss modern players and say they couldn't hack it in their era. That comes off as old man yelling at clouds, get off my lawn, bitterness. But when fools like JJ Redick bash legends like Bob Cousy or when people who are too young to have experienced the Bird/Magic/Jordan years discount those players that's even more maddening.

It's very odd for a player who played in that aforementioned Bird/Magic/Jordan era to bash that era, but Dennis Rodman is no stranger to being called very odd. I assume he got what he wanted with people talking about him today due to the quote, but I think even he knows he was just spouting nonsense. If he can compare Bird to Jokic, there's no way one can be the absolute best in the game today while the other couldn't even make the league.