A “First Take” analyst said something recently that set Twitter on fire, and it didn’t come from Stephen A. Smith. SAS is out for a few weeks after undergoing shoulder surgery, but former NFL player Domonique Foxworth had no problem stepping in to debate WFAN legend Mad Dog Chris Russo in his absence.
Foxworth took this opportunity to let his hot takes fly with little to no regard. His slander-laden Larry Bird rant was the worst of everything that floated from his lips during the show.
“Larry Bird is not a top-5 small forward of all time. KD would cook Larry Bird, in his prime, all day…. Fried chicken. We’d all eat Bird for dinner.”
It’s one thing to say Kevin Durant would cook Bird because, in all honesty, they’d probably roast each other. Most long-time NBA fans would probably agree with this. But to take that extra step in saying Bird isn’t one of the five best small forwards in the history of the NBA is beyond foolish.
I don’t care if he’s trolling Russo or trying to spice up the show, saying things like this just makes you look silly. Let’s say Durant is ahead of Bird on the all-time small forwards list; you can’t get to five before mentioning Bird. At worst, he’s the third greatest at the position.
It is amazing sometimes how disrespectful this era of athletes can be toward those who preceded them. Foxworth didn’t play pro basketball, but he did play in the NFL for the Broncos, Falcons, and Ravens. We hear this kind of madness constantly in NBA debates comparing today’s best to that of yesteryear. Usually, it’s the Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James era.
All the star players from these eras get lumped into one group and used against each other, and usually, somebody says something stupid. Dennis Rodman once stated that LeBron James would have been “just an average player” if he’d played in the 1980s and 90s. James would have been a great player in 1995, the same way he was in 2005 or 2015.
Then some are so far in the James camp on the goat discussion that they reach for anything they feel nudges him past Jordan no matter how asinine the take. Camp King, as I call it, loves to bring up all these longevity stats (career points, rebounds, assists, percentages, etc.) while ignoring game averages, where Jordan dominates James in many key categories. When it comes to longevity stats, Jordan is at a disadvantage as he played three years of college ball, while Lebron went straight from high school to the NBA.
Sometimes, these analysts get on TV and feel the need to say something memorable, so they wind up saying anything. Mission accomplished, ‘Nique! Who cares if it makes sense? Just so long as Twitter reacts, that’s what matters. To Foxworth’s credit, he did walk back the top five Bird comment on The Right Time w/ Bomani Jones and admit to trolling Mad Dog, but that’s a weak excuse.
Foxworth also said he’d take Alex Rodriguez over Derek Jeter and beat Bob Cousy if he could go back in time. “Bob Cousy couldn’t make a G-league team,” Foxworth said with a smirk on his face. So, he was clearly doing this to get under Russo’s skin, but he could’ve stopped before going that hard at Larry Legend.
Bird and Magic Johnson saved an entire league by bringing their rivalry from college to the pro ranks in the early 80s. The fact it took Foxworth almost a whole day to walk that take back makes me think he actually believed that nonsense. Bird is still among the 10 greatest players The Association has ever seen, and that’s with the back issues that wrecked his career. Sure, he’s dropped a few spots over the past 15 years, but it’ll be tough to knock him out of the Top 10 anytime soon.