This generation will never understand how Larry Bird was in terms of being a certified competitor on the basketball court. Like the late great Kobe Bryant, Bird had what many refer to today as "Mamba Mentality."
In fact, Bird is reputed as one of the most intense trash talkers in NBA history, and the best part was that he always backed up his talk. Like Michael Jordan, Larry Legend would always go the extra mile to find little ways to motivate himself for a game.
Like asking the mop boy to research for him
According to Bird's former teammate Danny Ainge (yes, the current executive of the Utah Jazz), the 3-time champion often tasked the ball boy in the arena he was about to play in to dig up some information before the game. Ainge mentioned that it was Bird's way of motivating and challenging himself to play at a high level every night.
"Larry used to come in the locker rooms, he'd be getting his ankles taped and he would say, 'Hey mop boy, go run and find the scoring record in this building.' He needed those kinds of challenges," Ainge once recalled in NBA TV's tribute to Larry Bird.
This is just one of the many ways how Bird used to get himself fired up before a game. He once admitted that he needed to do this because it gave him the advantage to compete at a high level every night. Whether that's trash-talking against his competitors or even peers, finding out who held the record in the arena, or playing mind games, Bird always wanted to be a step ahead of his competitors.
Bird was indeed always a step ahead
Aside from his 3-point shooting, what made Larry Legend so special is the plethora of ways he impacted the game. His passing, footwork, rebounding, defense, hustle, and clutch gene were the best features of his game. But he wouldn't have possessed those skills if it weren't for his mentality and competitive spirit, as Ainge reiterated, which turned him into the legendary Hall-of-Famer that he is.
That's why it's also not a surprise that Larry is known as one of (if not) the best superstars to play for the Celtics. He spearheaded the greatest turnaround in franchise history by making them relevant in the '80s after the Celtics suffered from sub-standard play and poor attendance in the late 1970s.
Like Jordan and Bryant, Bird is considered a one-of-a-kind superstar and probably one that we will never see anything like again.