Though they struck out on the major awards, the Boston Celtics have plenty to be proud of after last night's annual NBA Awards show.
Former Celtics legend Larry Bird was honored — alongside rival and friend Magic Johnson — with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his accomplishments on and off the court as well as their role in popularizing the league. Bird, a three-time MVP and three-time NBA champion with the Celtics, thanked the many great teammates he played with during his 13-year career in Boston.
In his acceptance speech, Bird also praised the level of skill of today's NBA while shutting down the clamors of many former players (looking at you, Chuck) who romanticize the NBA of yesteryear. "The game's in a good place," Bird said. "What I tell players coming in today: keep the game the way you found it, and it can go on for generations to come." Without Bird and Magic's contributions in the 1980's, the NBA wouldn't be in the spot it is.
Nobody realizes Bird's impact better than former teammate and current Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge.
So grateful for this guy☘️🙏🏼 https://t.co/AwZLNTn1KI— Danny Ainge (@danielrainge) June 25, 2019
Ainge also has great admiration for current Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who won the NBA's Hustle Award. Smart is exactly the type of hard-nosed, team-first player Ainge covets.
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