At their best, Larry Bird is the better one. It's very very close. But I think it's clear. Although, I think Duncan is the better playoff performer. And it's clearer than Bird being the better player. Remember he never lost a first-round series in his prime? He won it all with one of the weakest casts for a championship team. Aside from 2003 title, his 2001 and 2002 casts wasn't good. Bunch of old perimeter guys, 35+ year old DRob and inexperienced Parker and he made those teams 58W team and 2nd round team. And he was eliminated by the team has one of the best duos in history. The only thing which can be called a choke-job was 2004 playoffs 2nd round series against the Lakers. He was always as good as he's supposed to be. Or even better.
Like I said, Larry Bird is the better when it comes to peaks and he should be ranked higher in goat lists.
But acting like Duncan is nowhere near Larry Bird? That's just wrong.
I wasn't trying to underrate Duncan, he is one of the all-time greats in my book, I just get agitated by the idea that Bird's success was the reflection of talent he was surrounded by. It was overwhelming team basketball that made Boston a dominant superteam, not individual talents of his team-mates, at least not to an extent people try to present it nowdays.
But nobody is saying Bird only won because of his team...I just think it's a little crazy to sit here and not objectively look at what Duncan has done.
4 titles...all 4 without an all nba teammate (about as rare as it gets in NBA history)
14 straight 50 win season (never been done before...2nd highest is 12 by the 80s Lakers)
Can dominate the game on both ends...etc.
I'll say it again. If Duncan had one all of this for the Knicks....things would be different in how he's viewed.