You don't get nicknamed "Larry Legend" if you weren't a different kind of beast in your heyday, but that's precisely what Larry Bird was. The Celtics legend is to this day widely regarded as one of the best players in history, as his numbers, personal and team accolades speak for themselves. But Larry's career and legacy weren't about numbers. Bird was simply too skilled, cool, and ruthless on the basketball court, being labeled a trash-talking genius by most of the people that had to face him.
The legendary story with "X"
We have heard a bunch of Larry Bird trash-talking stories through the years, but they are so good we can't get enough of them. One of the most popular ones is from back in the 1986-1987 season, told by Xavier McDaniel.
At that time, Larry was still in his prime days, terrorizing the NBA with the Celtics, while McDaniel was an up-and-coming forward on the Sonics, known for his toughness and rugged style of play. "X," as they called him, wasn't a guy you would want to mess with, except if you were Larry Bird.
The Sonics and the Celtics were engaged in a tight battle in Seattle, with the game going down to the wire. The 23-year-old, second-year forward was playing one of the best games of his career, scoring 25 points along with 9 rebounds while guarding Larry on the other end. But the ending of the game belonged to the veteran in the only way Bird could do it:
"It was a tied game. They had the ball. DJ was stalling the basketball, and Larry was kinda standing. I was behind him, denying him the ball. They called a time-out. He turned around and looked at me and said: 'Imma score right here on you.' I said: 'I know you will. I'll be ready! He shot a turnaround jump-shot, I just looked back, and the ball just went in, hit all net. He said: 'Told you so!'...Larry Legend is at it again!"
Xavier McDaniel, The Universe Galaxy NBA
Bird got the ball on the high post, taking one dribble to the back and splashing it over McDaniel and his teammate coming to double, silencing the Sonics home crowd with just one of his numerous clutch shots. But doing it after telling your defender exactly where or how it's going to happen made it so much cooler.
But that was Bird's trademark trash-talking go-to move, and it never failed to deliver and amaze his opponents, who couldn't do anything else but marvel at Larry's greatness.