Celebrate 25th Anniversary Of Larry Bird With Legendary 1986 NBA Finals Performance

Nicholas Goss

Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird, one of the top 10 players in NBA history, retired 25 years ago on Aug. 18, 1992.

It was the end of a remarkable career and one of the most successful chapters in the storied history of the Celtics franchise.

To celebrate the anniversary of Bird’s retirement, let’s take a walk down memory lane and watch highlights of his best performance: Game 6 of the 1986 NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets.

The C’s had returned home leading 3-2 in the series after losing Game 5 in Houston. Bird posted a triple double with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. He also had three steals.

[Bird retrospective: What made Larry 'a rare and different bird, like no other']

Bird did everything in this game. He scored in every fashion, whether it be from midrange, 3-point range or the foul line. He also dished a few extraordinary assists and played some of the best defense we had ever seen from him. No. 33 also won a jump ball — against the Rockets’ 7-foot center Hakeem Olajuwon!

It was a fitting performance to end the 1985-86 Celtics — considered by many as the best NBA team ever.

Perhaps the most memorable moment from this game was when Bird passed up a layup in the second half, dribbled out to the 3-point line and buried a long-range shot. Shots from 3-point land were a big deal at that time because they rarely were attempted. Bird, after making the 3-pointer, raised his arm high in the air in celebration. It was the final nail in Houston’s coffin.

The Rockets simply were outclassed by Larry Legend.

Check out the video below for brilliant commentary on Game 6 of the 1986 NBA Finals by Bill Simmons and longtime Boston Globe writer Bob Ryan.

Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images