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“Larry Bird would put fear in me and everyone else” - John Salley compares 3-time All-Star to Larry Bird, says he would be scared to go up against him

Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns, Game 7: Luka Doncic shoots the ball.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns, Game 7: Luka Doncic shoots the ball.
Justin Thomas Hamill

Luka Doncic’s dominance was highlighted by John Salley as he outlined the fear Doncic brings to the court being the same as that of Larry Bird.

John Salley says Luka Doncic scares the league like Larry Bird once did

John Salley, a four-time NBA champion in 11 seasons, compared Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic with legendary Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird:

“I would be afraid to play against Luka. I’m telling you personally, that’s how good he is. … He’s this much below Larry Bird, or maybe that much, but Larry Bird would put fear in me and everyone else just like Luka does.”
"Larry Bird would put fear in me and everyone else just like Luka does."Incredibly high praise for @Luka7Doncic from @TheJohnSalley who backs it up by telling an all-time great Bird story before telling us how far Luka can take @DallasMavs https://t.co/EH0toyLgnw

As the first player in history to win three championships with three separate franchises, Salley knows what it means to be a winner and play among them. With experience playing against Bird, Salley is well aware of the threat Bird was to the league.

After dominating the Phoenix Suns in a 33-point Game 7 victory (123-90 on Sunday), Doncic has elevated as a player in the public eye. The young Mavericks star rarely fails to put on a large performance; sometimes it just comes down to his team not being there. But playing the way he did after all Devin Booker and Chris Paul put him through was admirable.

Consider, especially, that Luka has no overly accomplished veteran help on his team. The man is doing most of this entirely on his own, and with the help of his coaches, of course, but he arguably does run the floor quite like Bird.

Salley spoke about the Mavericks' playoff run:

“I think they’re gonna go to the (NBA) Finals.”

Doncic draws the defense out, pulling double teams and causing opponents to make decisions they are uncomfortable with. He can shoot from virtually anywhere against anyone in front of him and is full stride every second of the clutch.

These attributes are arguably close to the great Bird. Hopefully for Doncic’s sake, the Larry Bird attitude can make the same waves for him as it did for Bird himself. As a three-time champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP, Bird’s career is well decorated. Luka could potentially be on his way to his first championship this year and start racking up that sheet like Larry did.

Hopefully for Dallas, Doncic can continue his clutch stride as the Mavs are set to face a tough Golden State Warriors team. With the Warriors as a more full squad and arguably more aggressive, Doncic will have to be the most fearful version of himself.

Game 1 is Wednesday night in San Francisco.


Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein

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