Skip to main content

"You're a rookie. You don't know anything" — Clyde Drexler learned the hard way not to talk trash to Larry Bird

What happened next was typical for Larry Legend
Clyde Drexler shares an incredible Larry Bird trash talking story

Clyde Drexler and Larry Bird

Kevin Garnett could never win a trash-talking battle against Tim Duncan. Why? Because Timmy never spoke. Other than the occasional "subtle sh*t," The Big Fundamental never allowed KG to get into his head, depriving him of one thing that fueled him the most.

Clyde Drexler should've used the same tactic in his rookie-year matchup against Larry Bird. He didn't, and the inevitable happened.

Drexler's welcome to the NBA moment

Then-21-year-old Drexler was tasked with guarding the Celtics legend in one of the toughest matchups an NBA player could've faced during the 80s. But at some point in the game, Clyde decided to make things even tougher for him.

"I was guarding him my rookie year," Drexler said. "He looks at me and he goes, 'You can't stop me.' I looked at him and I said, 'Gosh. Boy you're so confident.' He goes, 'Confident? You're a rookie. You don't know anything.'"

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Bird talked the talk. And to no one's surprise -- except maybe for Drexler -- he was able to walk the walk.

"He proceeded to score like 10 straight points on me," Clyde said. "Coach took me out the game, and he walks by and he's laughing at me."

Bird vs. Drexler

Drexler faced Bird two times as a rookie. 

On December 2, 1983, in a 115-106 loss on the road, he played 14 minutes and finished with 4 points and 2 rebounds. Bird dropped 41, along with 14 rebounds and 7 assists.

Three months later, the Trail Blazers faced the Celtics at the Boston Garden. They lost 107-101, once again thanks to an incredible outing by Larry Legend, who put up 34 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 assists on 14-for-20 from the floor. Drexler played 12 minutes off the bench and put up 6 points and 2 assists.  

It's unknown what game exactly Clyde is referring to in this story. Regardless, the lesson was learned. From that moment on, Drexler never allowed himself to be mouthy when facing Larry, even though, as time went on, he developed skills to back his words up.

Older Clyde knew that Bird would always come out on top in the war of trash-talking. Rookie Drexler, unfortunately, had to learn that lesson the hard way. 

Tony Parker just wanted to make it to the NBA, and ended up becoming a legend in the process

Tony Parker shares what made it so hard to make it in the NBA as a European point guard back in the day

Tony Parker accomplished so much throughout his illustrious career, but his only goal initially was just to make it in the NBA

John Salley compares Luka Doncic to Larry Bird

John Salley says he would fear Luka Doncic the same way he feared Larry Bird

It might be too early to draw parallels between Larry Bird and Luka Doncic. But according to John Salley, both possess the same fear factor on the court.


Patrick Beverly disrespects the 2020 Lakers championship: "The Bubble Championship"

LeBron might think that was one of the hardest championships to win in NBA history, but Pat Bev is not having it!

Is it time for Chris Paul to retire?

Is it time for Chris Paul to retire?

This Playoff run exposed Chris Paul’s age more than ever. Gone are the days when he had all energy, pop, and even to an extent, durability to stay on the court.

Isiah Thomas criticism of Chris Paul still stands

Isiah Thomas’ past criticisms of Chris Paul still rings true: "He has to push past safe"

Isiah Thomas claimed Chris Paul was playing too safe to maintain his good stats. The Hall of Famer wanted CP3 to take some risks to win games.


Matt Barnes calls Patrick Beverly a clown for the Chris Paul slander: "You're not that guy"

Barnes went in on Pat Bev: "Chris Paul played terrible this series and his numbers are still better than your career numbers have ever been."

Patrick Beverley wouldn't mind joining LeBron James and the Lakers

Patrick Beverley on playing with the Los Angeles Lakers if he had the chance: “I wouldn’t even hesitate”

Patrick Beverley admitted that there's nothing like playing for the Lakers franchise

JJ Redick explains why Eric Gordon could've helped Phoenix Suns in the playoffs

JJ Redick explains why Eric Gordon could've helped Phoenix Suns in the playoffs

The Phoenix Suns fans wanted Eric Gordon but the front office panned their wishes.