Larry Bird and Shawn Kemp are two of the best NBA talents to come from the state of Indiana.
Larry Bird is one of the most decorated men in all of basketball. The only person in history to win ROTY, MVP, Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, COTY, and EOTY, Larry Bird lives up to his “Larry Legend” nickname by all means. Bird led the Celtics to multiple championships during his time at Boston.
Shawn Kemp was no scrub himself. A 6-time All-star and 3-time All-NBA selection, Kemp succeeded Bird in Indiana lore and broke a variety of records held by Larry Bird in the State of Indiana. One of the greatest in-game dunkers ever, the “Reign Man” was a star with the Supersonics.
Bird’s peak collided with Shawn Kemp’s ascend to NBA stardom and the duo faced up against each other early on in Kemp’s career.
How did Bird respond to the man who broke his records?
In a conversation with Mikey Domagala for the Inside Buzz, Kemp reveals the story of his interaction with Bird.
Larry Bird was a bad man. He made athletic freaks fear him. pic.twitter.com/QnYTzJQOCl
— LeWoy Smith Jr. (@lewoysmithjr) May 10, 2022
Kemp reveals that Bird asked him if he was the one to break Bird’s state records in Indiana. Kemp states that he was confident in his abilities and believed he could match Bird in the NBA. What happened next was a lesson in humility.
Bird told the then-rookie Kemp that he had something to show him that night. In what followed, Bird took it as a mission to make it miserable for Kemp and his Sonics and dropped a monster performance on them. Bird’s box score at the end of the day read: 40 POINTS. 10 REBOUNDS. 10 ASSISTS.
And as if the 40-point triple-double wasn’t enough, Bird supposedly called every shot he made. Every single shot. Talk about rubbing salt into one’s wounds.
One of the most legendary trash talkers in NBA history, such stories cement Bird’s status as one heck of a competitor. Even an all-star caliber player like Shawn Kemp could merely stand and watch in the face of Bird’s greatness.