Did Larry Bird Really Play a Game Where Every Shot He Took Was Left-Handed?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about basketball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the basketball urban legends featured so far.

BASKETBALL URBAN LEGEND: Larry Bird played a game where he shot all of his shots left-handed.

Today is “Left Handed Day,” so I thought it appropriate to post this legend – BC.

On Valentine’s Day, 1986, Larry Bird gave a love letter, of sorts, to his fans when he thrilled them with a striking example of Bird’s ability to shoot from both hands, his normal right hand as well as his left hand (Bird used his left hand to eat when he was not playing basketball).

But HOW striking was the example? Did Bird really shoot all of his shots left-handed that day?

The first few baskets Bird scored against the Portland Trailblazers (on a West Coast Trip the Celtics were on at the time) were done with his left hand…

But the story over the year has grown to the point where it is said that Bird played the game ENTIRELY left-handed.

That is not so, although even late in the game, Bird continued to use his left-hand (but really just on close to the basket shots).

I believe his game-winning shot was right-handed, but it’s hard to tell exactly…

But yeah, in any event, Bird had an amazing game, with 22 of his 47 points that day coming from his left hand.

That’s really impressive.

It just isn’t nearly a game where Bird “shot the ball with his left-hand the whole game” or even the alternative, “Bird shot the ball with his left hand when it was close to the basket the whole game,” although the latter is closer to being correct.

What’s interesting is that the previous season, also against the Trailblazers (although at home), Bird made a tremendous shot late in the game to give the Celtics a two-point lead and THAT was with his left hand…

Clyde Drexler actually answered right back with a last-second three pointer to give the Blazers a one-point lead, but Bird answered back to THAT with a buzzer-beating two pointer for the Celtic victory, 128-127.

In any event, the moral of this lesson, I believe, is just that Larry Bird was really, really good.

Just not “score every basket with his left hand” good.

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

One Response to “Did Larry Bird Really Play a Game Where Every Shot He Took Was Left-Handed?”

  1. What’s more incredible is that Larry Bird is actually left-handed! Earlier in his career with the Celtics he did shoot a bit more with his “dominant” hand, the story was that he began to devote himself to a right-handed shot because he felt he had a better touch with his “off” hand. Also, he didn’t want to have to divide his intense shooting practice routine between his left and right hand. He might be safe to say he made the “right'” choice–that’s if this tale is one that has real legs to stand on.

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