When talking about some of the biggest trash-talkers in the history of the NBA, the usual suspects are guys like Michael Jordan, Gary Payton, Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley, and more. But it seems that in conversations with former players, one particular individual always stands out when it comes to their style of trash-talking, and that is the great Larry Bird.
Larry Legend is a Celtics icon and one of the greatest players in history, as his skill on the court was unmatched. Larry was a player without weaknesses, but what made Bird stand out the most was his confidence. Bird would torch you and let you know about it, as some of his biggest battles came against the arch-rivals of the Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers would regularly get a first-hand look at Bird and his trash-talking prowess as one of the key members of those LA teams, Byron Scott, confirmed there was no one like Larry when it came to talking trash:
“Larry Bird was one of the biggest trash-talkers in basketball. A lot of people think it’s Reggie or Charles. Larry Bird talked more trash on the basketball court than anybody I’ve ever played against.”Byron Scott, The Dan Patrick Show
Luckily for us, Scott would also go on to tell a story as an example. In one of the many Celtics-Lakers battles, Bird decided to provoke the Lakers by telling them precisely what play his team is going to run for the game-winning shot and how he’s going to score no matter what, showing some pretty bold confidence.
“One game, our rotations double-teaming Kevin McHale always had to rotate to the corner, and Larry Bird was the one shooting. He shot one, and I’m trying to block his shot; he was just telling me:‘Scott, you’re a little too late!’ The last play, he says to James Worthy:’You guys don’t have to worry about it, I’m gonna go right over to that corner.’ He said:’they gonna set a screen for me, imma curl right over’. He’s telling us the play before they even take it out! ‘So I’m going right over to the corner, I’m gonna catch, I’m gonna shot it, and imma tie the game or win the game whatever the case might be.’ They take the ball out…man curl right to the corner, caught it, shot the three, game-over. Just like are you f—n kidding me. That’s my Larry Bird story.”Byron Scott, The Dan Patrick Show
Telling your opponents which way are going to score and then doing it was Bird’s trademark go-to move that always got the better of his opponents. Not many other players have the ability, confidence, and swagger to pull off something like that, especially in such big moments during the end of the game. But Bird loved it and always delivered on his words, making his matchups go into a frenzy. Scott and the Lakers were just one of many victims on Larry Bird’s list, as that is precisely why he, to this day, is considered one of the best players ever.