Gary Payton, also known as “The Glove”, was one of the most competitive players the NBA has ever seen. Apart from his superior basketball intellect and his tenacious defense, Payton was well-respected for his ability to get in opponents’ heads through his trash talk.
Greatest trash-talkers in the 80's and 90s
The Glove played in the 90s, an era where the game was full of intimidation tactics designed to get players off their game, and a time when many of the game’s greatest players played and talked on the basketball court. Payton played in the NBA Finals against Michael Jordan, and while Jordan is known for talking on the court as well, The Glove says that it was another player who talked the best trash in the league.
"Look here man, I'm gonna shoot this mothaf-kin jumper in your face in that corner, and it's gonna be your Christmas present."
It’s a shame that we fail to mention Larry Bird when talking about the Greatest Players of All Time when he is every bit as great and legendary as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Michael Jordan. Yes, Bird has three rings, a couple or so less than the names previously mentioned.
Larry Bird is the coldest trash-talker
However, Larry Legend’s teams were not always favored in the finals and still came up with three Larry O’Brien trophies. If our argument for Jordan is that he went six-for-six in the finals, Bird had three in an era where the Showtime Lakers were the main competition, that should be considered one of the greatest feats in NBA history.
“He was the sh*t. He will give it to you any way he wanted to, anyway. Larry Bird was cold.”
That’s respect from one of the game’s greatest players, and oftentimes when we talk about the GOAT, it boils down to winning, narrative, and respect from your peers. Larry Legend definitely ranks among the highest in those three categories, but it seems that similar to Tim Duncan, we don’t give him the same praise just because his game was arguably not as exciting to watch as the others. Is Larry Bird one of the top 5 greatest players of all time? Or should he just be remembered as one of the top players in the trash talk department? You decide.