Larry Bird can't quite believe the money that is flying around the NBA right now

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Larry Bird is undeniably one of the greatest players to ever lace up his sneakers, so when he has something to say about the game, everybody listens.

As a 12-time All-Star, three-time MVP and three-time NBA champion, Bird just about did it all. Even in retirement, he headed to the Indiana Pacers and won Executive of the Year in 2012.

Speaking to Nick Fridell of ESPN, Bird described how he was amazed that the game had become so lucrative what a departure from his era it really is.

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"I'd be lying if I told you I thought it would get to this point," Bird said. "I never thought that. I'm happy it has. That means the league's doing well, the owners are doing well, the players are doing well.

"That's what it was all about. But you got to remember, when I came into the league, the guys before me were bitchin' about how much money I made. So it just goes down the line, so that's how it works."

As a career-long Celtic who averaged 24.3 points a night, Bird would have been one of the top earners on the open marker today had he competed at a different time.

However, Bird's prime was the '80s and the climate then in the NBA was far different, even if he was one of the top paid players at that time. Does he hold any resentment to the players cashing in today?

"No, I always tell the kids that you get what you deserve. Just leave the game better than you found it. And it's good for everyone when it happens."

If there is more money in the game today, one could argue that the game is actually better than it has ever been. A 59-year-old Bird doesn't believe you can truly measure the two different eras, or any era for that matter.

"I don't know. There's some guys I really like to watch play. Draymond Green is fun to watch. All of those [Michigan] State guys are because they defend, and they play, they play together - that's how I like the game to be played. Move the ball, cut, pass; if you do the right things, you'll get it right back.

"I don't know, I hate to compare eras. It's been so long since I played, but I liked to play the total game. Magic liked to play the total game. Some guys are just scorers. Some guys just defend and rebound. But the guys that are playing now are just as good as what we were when we played."

It's admirable how Bird manages to speak about the game objectively when a whole host of veterans fail to do so, particularly when it comes to the Warriors. With Bird's progressive thinking, the Pacers are well placed to push on and succeed.

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