We’ve got a bit of a predilection for Larry Bird trash talk stories here at SportsHyped. And honestly, can you blame us? Given how Larry Bird is not only one of the all-time greatest NBA players ever and also one of the all-time greatest trash talkers, it’s hard not to side with us. So here’s another Larry Bird trash talk story courtesy of Craig Elho, a shooting guard who played for fifteen seasons in the NBA, the majority of which was spent with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
During his career, Elho guarded his fair share of big name players, like Reggie Miller, Isiah Thomas, Clyde Drexler and Michael Jordan (Elho was actually the defender on Jordan during Jordan’s infamous “The Shot,” but that’s a story for another day). However, there was nobody that Elho hated guarding more than Celtics legend Larry Bird.
“The one I really hated to guard was Larry Bird. He was not a nice guy,” Craig said during his appearance on the “60 Days of Summer” podcast.
Elho, who was nicknamed “Mr. Everything,” normally had the task of guarding the opposing team’s best player. On this particular night, Elho was guarding Larry Bird, and was doing a fair job of containing him in the first half. However, Elho recalls, when he tried to rub it in Bird’s face on the way to the locker room during halftime, it only fueled Bird’s competitive fire.
“There was one game in Cleveland where he was having a pretty rough first half. In the old days in Cleveland, you walked off the court the same way at halftime, and I kinda puffed up on him and walked beside him and was like, ‘Yeah, you’re 1-for-10. That’s defense, you know?’ He just kinda looked at me and said, ‘There’s two halves,'” Elho said.
Elho continued, “He came back out and hit about ten in a row on me, and the last one was left-handed, and he asked me if my mother was watching because he wanted to embarrass me.”
Bird seemed to remember Elho after that encounter, antagonizing him in future encounters. Elho’s teammate Terrell Brandon corroborates Bird’s trash talk for Elho in a game which took place between the Cavs and the Celts in the early 90s.
“It was 1991-92 season, and we were playing the Boston Celtics; it was Bird, McHale, Parrish — the great three,” Brandon said during an appearance on Basketball Kingz PDX. “And we were up by one. He said, ‘Who’s guarding me?’ After we come from the timeout. Now remember I’m a rookie, I said, ‘Craig Ehlo.’ He said, ‘Why you got that white boy on me? Don’t put that white boy on me.'”
As soon as Elho went to cover Bird, Bird reportedly hit the game-winning shot after telling Elho and Brandon exactly how he would do it. After hitting the game-winning shot, Bird raised his right hand and exclaimed, “Legend!” before walking off the court.
What do you think of this edition of SportsHyped’s Larry Bird Trash Talk stories, courtesy of Craig Elho? What’s your favorite Larry Bird trash talk story? Let us know in the comments.