Larry Bird is regarded by many to be one of the greatest NBA players to ever step on a basketball court, helping the Boston Celtics secure three NBA championships during his thirteen-season tenure. One of Bird’s long-standing teammates was power forward Kevin McHale, who has not only lauded Bird for his keen basketball ability and IQ in the past but also the way Bird enlivened the team on the court, not only through in-game, self-imposed challenges like dunking on the tallest player in the NBA or shooting only with his left hand for the entirety of game, but by getting into an opponents’ heads through trash talking.
McHale shared one of his favorite Larry Bird trash talk stories during a recent episode of The Dan Patrick Show, one where Bird predicted what he was going to do to the opposing team with frightening clairvoyancy.
“We were playing in Phoenix, and we were way up, we were like up 15, and we have the worst fourth quarter, we’re terrible,” McHale recounted. “And Larry’s bad, Larry’s missing shots, throwing it to the other team, throwing it into the third row, and they come back, and somehow they go up two. So we have an out-of-bounds play, I’m taking it out, and Larry says, ‘I’m gonna bust off the play, and I’m just gonna come out and shoot a three.’ And I’m like ‘We’re down two, no, don’t do that. Let’s shoot a two, please. Go to the hole, try to get fouled, let’s just get into overtime and see if we can win this game.’ And Larry says ‘Nah, man, I’m just gonna bust a three on them.’ And I’m like ‘Oh my God.’
McHale continued, “He tells the Phoenix bench, tells the coaches, ‘Yeah, I’m just gonna bust a three on you guys and just go home, I’m tired of this.’ And he gets the ball, jumps out, busts the play, comes out, gets the ball at the slot, shoots the ball; as the ball is in the air he kind of turns towards the Phoenix bench and yells, ‘Told you so!’ And he starts running to the locker room, and it went in, and I just started laughing.”
It was this bold mentality which set Larry Bird apart as being merely a high-caliber player into one of the greatest players of all time.
What do you think of Kevin McHale’s favorite Larry Bird trash talk story? Do you think there’s another instance of Larry Bird trash talk that’s a better example of Bird being one of the best trash talkers in NBA history? Let us know in the comments.