Just another what??

“Just another good guy”.

As in “If Larry Bird were black, he’d be just another good guy“.

To be perfectly honest, here’s what Isiah Thomas said after his Detroit Pistons lost game 7 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics : “Larry Bird is a very good player. An exceptional talent. But… If he were black, he’d be just another good guy.

Still… His frustration was as obvious as it was understandable. The Pistons had just lost an incredibly intense playoff series that could have sent them to the NBA Finals. They had crushed the Celtics three times at the Palace of Auburn Hills. But Larry Bird eventually killed them. He made an incredible steal in the closing seconds of game 5 to prevent Detroit from taking home court advantage, then had 37 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists in game 7, singlehandedly lifting his Celtics to the win in the final minutes.

And so Isiah made his the comments rookie Dennis Rodman started to make in the locker room after the game.

But Thomas had to know better. Larry Bird was at the top of his game. Even at the very top of THE game. He had won three consecutive MVP titles (1984 to 1986), a feat only Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell had accomplished. He had won three NBA Championships and his ’86 Celtics were considered one of the greatest teams in NBA history. Black or white, there was no way he would be “just another good guy“.


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