Former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird remains one of the NBA’s greatest players. Bird‘s iconic legacy extends far beyond his accolades, as he gained a legendary status through his trash-talking. One of those instances left an unforgettable moment for longtime NBA guard Rod Strickland.
Larry Bird’s illustrious NBA career included legendary trash-talking
Bird spent his entire illustrious 13-year NBA career with the Boston Celtics, establishing himself as one of the game’s greatest talents.
He won NBA titles and two NBA Finals MVP awards, earned three regular-season MVP honors, was nominated for 12 All-Star selections and nine All-NBA First Teams, and had his No. 33 jersey retired with the Celtics.
Bird also remains the only forward in league history to capture three consecutive regular-season MVP awards. His legacy is also fueled by his legendary trash-talking, as many of his peers still believe he’s the greatest trash-talker.
Hall of Famer Michael Jordan once admitted that he learned how to properly trash-talk from Bird. The former Celtics great earned opposing players’ respect because of his keen ability to back up his trash-talking, from telling his opponents how he was going to score to simply verbally bashing their defensive efforts.
“He’s always talked trash,” Ewing said during an interview on the Dan Patrick Show. “He talked trash against us. He talked trash against everyone else, but you know what the difference is that he could back it up.”
Many of those instances left memorable moments for opposing players, and that included Rod Strickland.
Larry Bird’s angry 5-word verbal jab left an unforgettable memory for Rod Strickland
Larry Bird was never averse to trash-talking an opponent at any given moment on the court.
Former longtime NBA guard Rod Strictland quickly found that out early in his career. During a segment on TNT’s Inside the NBA that acknowledged the former Celtics great’s 61st birthday, Strickland recounted a hilarious story involving his idol.
“I wasn’t around long because he was hurt and I was playing my first year or second year,” Strickland recalled. “I just remember one quick thing. We were playing against him, and I stole the ball from him, and I just remember [him] turning around saying, ‘You little piece of s—. To me, that was Larry Bird, and I was so happy because Larry Bird told me you were a little piece of s—. I idolized Larry Bird.”
Although it was a harsh choice of words out of frustration, it epitomized the player Bird was in Strickland’s eyes. His overt competitive nature spewed out, and at that moment, it was directed toward the New York native.
Bird’s passion for the game played a significant part in pushing him to become an all-time talent. Strickland may have only played four years against his idol, but that one instance left an ever-lasting impression on him.
NBA legacy continues to grow stronger
It’s been nearly three decades since Bird stepped into retirement, but his legacy has only grown stronger.
The admiration and recognition of what he accomplished are fueled through much more than his accolades. The endless number of stories his peers share about him showcase his utmost confidence and ability to back up his trash talk.
It’s that aspect that has elevated his status to another stratosphere as an all-time great. Beyond that, Bird played a pivotal part in helping shape the NBA into what it has become.