Larry Bird earned the respect of every opponent that he ever played against with his special brand of trash talking.
Trash talk has always been a huge, indelible component of competitive sports. What sets the NBA apart is that practically all great players chirped at their opponents and tried to wind them up.
The likes of Gary Payton, Kevin Garnett, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are all ranked up there among the sport’s baddest trash talkers ever. But any of these discussions are incomplete unless you mention the Hick from the French Lick.
There was a special quality to the way Bird carried himself on the basketball court. He had a glib tongue and a quick wit that he used liberally with his opponents. And on top of that, he was the world’s most skilled player at the time.
This heavyweight combination proved too much for practically every opponent that Bird faced in his career. The LA Lakers often faced the worst of it given their rivalry.
Byron Scott explains why Larry Bird is the biggest trash talker ever with an amazing anecdote
Byron Scott is one of the important members of the Showtime Lakers team of the 1980s. He made it to 6 NBA Finals with Magic Johnson and was the team’s starting shooting guard.
He often drew the Larry Bird assignment during the Celtics legend’s peak years on switches. And this meant that he’d be squarely in Bird’s firing line.
Scott was on the Dan Patrick Show a few years ago talking about the biggest trash talkers in basketball. Bird’s name obviously came up, and Scott had quite the tale for us:
“Larry Bird is one of the biggest trash talkers in basketball. You thought it was Reggie or Charles. Larry Bird talked more trash on the basketball court than anybody I’ve ever played against.”
“He told me 2 things one game. All rotations we double-teamed and Kevin McHale always had to rotate to the corner and Larry Bird was the one shooting it, you know. So he shot one and I mean, I’m trying to block the shot. And he would just tell me ‘Scott, you moved too late.'”
“So we played them, and the last play, he says to James Worthy ‘You guys don’t have to worry about it, I’m going right over there in that corner.’ He said ‘They’re going to set a screen for me. I’mma curl right over here.'”
“He’s telling us the play before they even take it out. He said I’m going, I’m catching it and I’mma shoot it at and I’m going to tie the game or win it, whatever the case may be.'”
“They take the ball out, I think it was either Danny or the late great Dennis Johnson. The man curled right to the corner, caught it, shot a 3, game over. Just like that. Are you effin kidding me?”