Celtics legend Larry Bird publicly made his feelings known about Rockets center Moses Malone after beating them in the 1981 NBA Finals.
As a rookie, Bird averaged 21.3 points and 10.4 rebounds and changed the fortunes of a struggling franchise. The following season, the Celtics finished with a 62-20 record. On the other side of the coin, the Rockets just scraped into the playoffs with a 40-42 record.
They shocked the Lakers in the opening round of the playoffs, winning 2-1 in the best-of-three series. The Rockets were underdogs in every round of the playoffs and won. As a result, they believed that they could almost anybody.
This confidence got a bit too much into the Rockets Center Malone’s head. He started trash-talking the Celtics. Malone didn’t think the Celtics should’ve been in the championship series. The center believed the 76ers were the better team. He let the Celtics know he felt that way, calling them “chumps” along the way.
Lots of basketball talent in this fight: Charles Barkley and Moses Malone hold back Larry Bird while Dr J. Julius Erving punches him. pic.twitter.com/x0XoqVfiKi
— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) July 16, 2018
One thing we know is not to piss Larry Bird off. Malone and the Rockets learned that the hard way. The series was tied 2-2. The Celtics went on to destroy the Rockets 109-80 in Game 5 behind Larry Bird’s near triple-double of 12-12-8. Boston then went on to close things out by winning Game 6 102-91 behind Bird’s 27 points and 13 rebounds.
Larry Bird came out on top against Malone. However, he wasn’t done just yet. What else did he do? Read on and find out.
Larry Bird rips Moses Malone in public on Boston Celtics Day
Bird got the last laugh during a victory celebration dubbed Boston Celtics Day. The Celtics legend then took the pettiness to another level.
During Boston Celtics Day at Boston’s City Hall, Bird responded to a sign that was trash-talking Malone in the crowd. The 3x MVP goes on to say –
“I think after all the hollering and screaming, I look out in the crowd and see one thing that typifies our season. Moses does eat s***.”
The Boston crowd erupted, applauding the dig at Malone. However, the TV crews doing live coverage of the event weren’t the biggest fans of this spectacle by Bird.
Bird later issued an apology by saying –
“There were signs in the crowd saying the same thing. I guess I was just so naturally happy with everything that I wanted to agree with the fans and got caught up in the atmosphere. I had no desire to offend anyone.”
Moses Malone did respond to the whole drama by saying –
“I have no feelings at all about it. It doesn’t matter to me what he says. Larry Bird is certainly entitled to his feelings. He didn’t seem to have those feelings when we were playing, but that’s all right.”
Everyone and their mother knew this was just an apology to maintain Bird’s image. I’m sure Bird knew exactly what he was doing and possibly meant every single word. That’s just the kind of person Larry Bird is.