There is no question that the NBA used to be much more rugged, tough, and psychical. That style of play led to many altercations and fights between players who at times looked more like MMA fighters than NBA players. The league was less strict with that kind of behavior back in the day, and that provided us with some of the craziest fights we have ever seen.
One of the most notorious and provocative players of that era was the great Larry Bird. Alongside being one of the best players ever to play, “Larry Legend” was one of the toughest ones. His trash-talking and attitude often put him into heated situations where things would escalate quickly. Without any further ado, here are some of Larry Legend’s craziest NBA fights.
Larry Bird Vs. Julius Erving
Of course, we have to start with the most notorious one. The infamous fight between some of the best small forwards to ever play the game is also one of the biggest fights in NBA history. Bird and Erving would get into it in a heated contest between the Celtics and the Sixers back in 1984. It all started after Bird threw an elbow into Erving. They would grab each other by the throat and begin throwing punches as both teams stormed the court, creating chaos in the Boston Garden. The most memorable scene was Barkley holding Bird while Erving was punching him. Definitely, something we can’t even imagine seeing happen in today’s NBA.
Larry Bird Vs. Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman
It doesn’t get much tougher and meaner than the Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys,” as Bird was very familiar with them. Larry had numerous battles with the Pistons, but he got extra heated on a particular night in 1987 and got into it with who other than Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman. Bird got practically body-slammed by Laimbber as all three of them fell on the floor. Bird would lose it and just start swinging at Laimbeer. After they got separated, Larry even threw the ball at Laimbeer and got into with Rodman before things cooled down. A classic Pistons-Celtics game from the 80s’.
Larry Bird Vs. Marc Iavaroni
Now this one is a bit unknown, as it happened in the 1983 preseason. Even though it was just an exhibition to get ready for the season, Larry was in midseason form with his punches. Bird grabbed Iavaroni like a kid pulling him all over the place, ready to punch him. After they got separated and were talking through it with the coaches, Bird just fired a shot in Iavaroni’s face causing mayhem. The legendary Red Auerbach even stormed the court, looking ready to fight someone. Just a crazy situation, especially for a preseason game.
Larry Bird Vs. Allan Bristow
Now, this short clip is a rare and gold old-school moment for Bird. This fight with Allan Bristow came in 1981, early in Larry’s career. You can see Bristow lying on the floor and Bird just jumping down at him and pushing his head to the floor. Bristow would manage to get up as they got tangled into a punching match. Pretty badass!
Larry Bird Vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
This last one is more of a skirmish and shouting match than a fight, but because of the greatness of these two players’ and the notorious Celtics-Lakers rivalry, it has to be included. During the 1984 Finals, the two stars got into it after Kareem visibly tried to elbow Bird while snatching a rebound from him. Bird would not appreciate the gesture as he let Kareem know about it. The usually calm Abdul-Jabbar would get heated and get into Bird’s face before getting separated. In the end, Bird would get the last laugh, winning those Finals and the MVP honors.