"Larry Bird would put fear in me and everyone else," John Salley said when comparing the Celtics legend to Luka Doncic. But that's just skills-wise. When it comes to the art of trash-talking, no one comes close to Larry Legend. Salley himself experienced that firsthand.
"Y'all not double teaming?"
The two met during a basketball camp in Marshville. But that didn't mean Bird would go easy on him when they matched up in the NBA. And he didn't.
In fact, the Hall of Famer made sure to give John the complete Larry Bird treatment -- a superstar-worthy move on the court, followed by an all-time great trash-talking performance. And just like anyone else, Salley stood no chance.
"Larry got in the game one time and for some reason Chuck Daly put me in," John said. "I get in and Larry looks around and goes, 'Oh, what's up Sal?' I said, 'Nothing.' He goes, 'You on me?' I said, 'Yeah, I got size on you right now I've been watching every move.' He goes, 'Y'all not double teaming?' I go, 'Nah, it's just me fella.'"
He goes, 'Mouse in the house,' and they change the play and he does this (jab step) and he shoots it and says, 'Sal, you better ask for a double team, bruh.'
John Salley, The Rich Eisen Show
Michael Jordan once said, “Larry Bird is the greatest trash talker and mind-game player of all time. He taught me everything I know about getting in folks’ heads.”
Clyde Drexler learned not to engage in a trash-talking war with Bird in his rookie season.
Gary Payton described the Celtics legend as "the coldest trash-talker in NBA history." Magic Johnson, his biggest rival, said the same thing multiple times.
The point is very few could match Bird's on-court abilities. But when it comes to talking smack, not a single person could do it; not then, not now.