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NBA 3-Point Contest Classic: Larry Bird

Larry Bird is considered one of the best shooters of All-time, especially in 80s and 90s. Here we will look back at his legendary career in 3-point contests.

The Boston Celtics Legend won three 3-point shooting contests from 1986-1988, including the 1986 contest where his infamous “who was coming in second place” moment made the first 3 Point Contest a remarkable in the history of NBA All-Star. Here we will revisit Larry Bird’s best three-point contest performances.

1. 1986 All-Star (Reunion Arena, Dallas)

The 1986 All-Star Game was the first weekend that included the three-point contest as a core part and it became a memorable contest with Larry Bird, the one of the greatest players of all-time, winning the contest convincingly. 

In the same contest, Bird made an infamous trash talk when he confidently walked in the locker room before the contest and asked participants who was coming second place. ‘Everybody’s sitting there and everybody’s real quiet,’ Bird recalled. “You knew the guys, but you never were really around them. Nobody’s really saying anything, so I walked in, looked around, and it just came out. I had no clue I was going to win it.”

Bird faced Hodges in the final who scored 25 of 30 points in the first round. In the finals, Hodges suffered a terrible shooting and registered just 12 points. On the other hand, Bird made 11 straight shots and finished with 22 points to clinch his first of his three titles.

2. 1988 All-Star (Chicago Stadium)

The 1988 3-Point Contest is where the Great Larry Bird did not undress his practice jacket and still nailed the contest for his third and final 3-Point Contest trophy. Byron Scott of Lakers heated up the opening round by scorching the three-point territory with 19 points. Bird advances to the second round with just 17 points. Ellis had 16 and Schrempf 15 to continue on to the next round.

In the final round, Bird faced Ellis. In this final round, he struggled from the three point territory, clunking just off his first three shots but he was saved by the money ball. He scored 13 points after nailing the fourth rack with a perfect shot. But in the final rack, he missed two shots, giving him just 14 with seven seconds remaining. He sank the next shot to tie Elli’s 15 and then ended the contest with shooting the money ball in a buzzer beater shot to score 17 and win the contest.

3. 1987 All-Star (Seattle Center Coliseum)

Coming into the 1987 3-Point Contest, he was ready to defend his title. However Bird faced an early struggle in the first round, racking up just 13 points, tying the favorite Dale Ellis and Craig Hodges while Detlef Schrempf led by a mile with 19 points.

In the second round, Bird learned to play with the rising atmosphere and scorched a terrific 18 points. Schrempf finished 16, to meet Bird in the final round.

This is the least convincing 3-point contest victory of Larry Bird despite scoring all five balls in the first rack, he just finished with 16 points. However, the Basketball God still favors the Legend, as Schrempf missed a terrible nine of his 11 shots before heading into the final rack with just 11 points. In total, Schrempf scored just 14 points, missing the money ball that could tie Bird’s 16. Larry Bird ended the contest with his second 3-Point Contest title. 

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