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Today in Celtics History: Bird Three-peat

On May 28, 1986, Larry Bird [1] won his third straight NBA MVP Award. He also won the NBA Finals [2] MVP en route to the Celtics 16th world championship over the Houston Rockets [3]. Bird joined Bill Russell [4] and Wilt Chamberlain [5] as the only players to receive the award in three consecutive seasons. Since then four players (Magic Johnson [6], Michael Jordan [7], Tim Duncan [8], Steve Nash [9]) have won back-to-back titles, but no one has accomplished the three-peat.

See how this season’s MVP stacked up to Bird’s award-winning performance: (All stats per regular season game; advantage in bold)

Larry Bird (1986)
Boston Celtics [10]: 67-15 (won NBA Finals)
Points: 25.8
Rebounds: 9.8
Assists: 6.8
FG: 49.6%
3PG: 42.3%
FT: 89.6%
Steals: 2.0
Blocks: 0.6

LeBron James [11] (2009)
Cleveland Cavaliers [12]: 66-16 (down 3-1 in Eastern Conference Finals)
Points: 28.4
Rebounds: 7.6
Assists: 7.2
FG: 48.9%
3PG: 34.4%
FT: 78.0%
Steals: 1.7
Blocks: 1.1

Edge: Bird, 6-3

On the same date in 1978 former Celtics guard, the late Dennis Johnson [13], blocked seven shots in Game 3 of the NBA Finals as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics [14]. No other guard has ever blocked as many shots in an NBA Finals game.