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Luckily enough, Larry Bird's name begins our alphabetical progression through these 10 players.
And boy, oh boy, who better to start with.
Larry Legend developed quite the reputation for clutch performances, simply because he had so many of them. One of the best players in the history of the Boston Celtics, Bird inspired belief that everything he did would work out.
The following is an excerpt from Bill Simmons' The Book of Basketball (and a recent online article) about a shot that Bird took in Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals:
The Lakers stick two guys on Bird. Somehow, he breaks free at midcourt (seriously, how the hell does this happen?), slides down the sideline, grabs the inbounds pass, controls his momentum long enough to set his feet for a split second right in front of Riley, steadies his upper body for a nanosecond, and launches a wide-open three in front of the Lakers bench. At that precise moment, standing in front of my seat at midcourt with pee probably dripping down my leg, I would have bet anything that the shot was ripping through the net. I would have bet my baseball card collection. I would have bet my Intellivision. I would have bet my virginity. I would have bet my life. Even the Lakers probably thought it was going in. Watch the tape and you will notice Lakers backup Wes Matthews crouched on the floor and screaming behind Bird in sheer, unadulterated terror like he's about to watch someone get murdered in a horror movie. You will hear the fans emit some sort of strange, one-of-a-kind shrieking noise, a gasping sound loosely translated as, "Holy s***, we are about to witness the greatest basketball shot ever!" Hell, you can freeze the tape on the frame before the ball strikes the rim. It looks like it's going in. It should have gone in.
When you inspire that type of confidence—even in a notorious C's homer—you know that you're a clutch performer.
Bird is one of the few players that could not only mentor LeBron in one certain type of clutch situation, but in all of them.