SBNation actually used the headline “What if Larry Bird was black?” I thought that was intriguing, but a little misleading. Instead of focusing on what would have been if Larry had been black, the article focuses on why the roles of Larry as a white man and Magic Johnson as a black man — two stars, two races — were perfect. For basketball, for sports, and for… documentaries?
Even documentaries. It was all perfect. But if you didn’t know Bird and read his bio on NBA.com, you might think he was black. (SBNation)
Reading [Bird's description], someone unfamiliar with Bird would imagine a black player. He was a 6’9 forward with a deadly jumper, endless swagger, and a reputation for embarrassing anyone that had the gall to guard him one-on-one. Maybe it’s the way he’s described. Or maybe it’s just that anyone that’s uninitiated would make the reasonable assumption that one of the greatest basketball players in basketball history was black. But either way, that’s what they’d assume, right? It’s funny to think about.
Because for any basketball fan, sports fan, or even just a regular person that was alive during the 1980s, it’s simply inconceivable that Larry Bird could have been a black man. Not for any negative reasons, just … He’s Larry Bird! Magic’s black, Larry’s white.
Want to know why Bird as a white man was such a great fit? Keep reading.