Dennis Rodman Regrets Saying Larry Bird Would Only Be An Average Player If He Was Black

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

Dennis Rodman Regrets Saying Larry Bird Would Only Be An Average Player If He Was Black


Together with Magic Johnson, Larry Bird was the dominant force in the NBA during the 1980s. The 3-time MVP was one of the greatest basketball players and greatest shooters of all time and should find his place on every Top-10 of all time list.

In 1987, after the Pistons were eliminated by Larry Bird and his Celtics in Game 7 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, Rodman was asked about Bird’s performance and said Bird was “very overrated” and that he had only won three straight MVPs ”because he was white.”

Rodman’s teammate Isiah Thomas, then famously agreed with Rodman and said:


”Larry Bird is a very, very good basketball player. I think he’s an exceptional talent. But I’d have to agree with Rodman, if he was black he’d be just another good guy.”


Thomas’ words though should become the ones that received the public attention, and even year’s later, people mostly connect Thomas, who later revoked his statement and said his comments were meant sarcastically, with this infamous accusation.

Now, looking back at this moment some 35 years later, Dennis Rodman talked about his rivalry with Bird, granted it was pretty one-sided as Bird would often school the young Rodman apologized for his statement then and admitted it was a mistake:


Game 6 in Boston, I made the most wrong decision that a person can make…

…I was young and stupid so after the game, I said if he was black, he’d be just an average basketball player. That is what I actually said back then.

What was so cool about our team though, is that Isaiah Thomas came to my defense. He took all that heat from me and said Dennis, just go to your car and drive back to Oklahoma and stay there. I made a mistake but those times were different, its a different era these days.”


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