When you talk about some of the biggest fights in NBA history, you have to mention the brawl between two of the greatest players ever, Larry Bird and Julius Erving. The stars of two rival teams, Celtics and the Sixers, got into a punching match back in 1984 during an early-season matchup.
Bird and Erving weren’t the only stars on the court, as Chares Barkley and Kevin McHale had the chance to see the fight break out first hand, especially Charles, who got a lot of heat for holding Bird while Erving was punching him. While talking about the fight on TNT, Barkley and McHale described what led to it and how it looked up-close.
“It was a two on one; there’s no question; he jumped into the middle of the fight holding him, trash-talking him, Dr.J. was trying to give Larry a pop. But what started that whole thing, though, is Larry got fired up over an exhibition game and was talking a lot of trash, and Dr.J. finally had enough; Moses, the whole crew, jumped in there. That’s what I tell people, the crazy thing is, that was an exhibition game.”Kevin McHale, The Universe Galaxy
“I shouldn’t have got fined for that. Dr.J. owes me money!… So how the whole thing started was, Larry had like 30 points at halftime, and Larry, who’s one of the greatest trash-talkers of all time, said: ‘Yall better get this old man of me before I get 60.‘ And Dr. said: ‘Hey, man, I had about enough.‘ And Larry Bird says: ‘Hey man, you are too old, you need to retire, you cannot guard me.‘ And Dr. just had enough; it was crazy. That was an exhibition game, Ernie!Charles Barkley, The Universe Galaxy
Charles described another perfect example of why Larry Bird was a trash-talking genius. Nobody was safe from him, even greats like Julius Erving. Dr.J. was the best small forward for years in the NBA, and he was hesitant to hand over the crown to Larry Bird. But Bird made sure he would take over and let Julius know about it.
If you want to find out Dr.J’s description of the infamous fight and a more detailed breakdown, you can read our previous article on one of the wildest fights in NBA history.