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Bird Outperformed Magic, Yet He Finished Third

May 30, 1987

Congratulations to Magic Johnson on his MVP award. He is certainly one of the finest guards ever to play in the NBA. I would, however, like to offer these comments on the MVP selection process.

When thinking of the MVP award it's interesting to note how we come to judge the great players based, not on their performance, but rather on our expectations of their performance.

Larry Bird finished a distant third to Magic in the voting, yet Larry outperformed Magic in every statistical category, except assists; and in that category his performance as a forward was nearly equal to that of Magic as a guard.

In addition, Larry was the first player in NBA history to average over 50% shooting from the floor and over 90% from the free-throw line, the first player in five years to average over 40 minutes a game, and the only player in NBA history to make every all-star team in every year of his career. He led a team with no bench (Walton, Wedman and Bias were missing) to the second-best record in the NBA.

I suggest that if any player in the league except Larry Bird had these credentials, he would have been voted the MVP.

SIMEON SHORTMAN

Santa Barbara

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